Instagram is testing a more personalized feed for its users, the company said today. The reorganized feed relies on an algorithm to sort images and videos based on what users are likely to be most interested in. The social media platform currently organizes posts from newest to oldest, which often leads to missing posts from friends. The new feed more closely resembles that of Instagram's parent company, Facebook.
Instagram co-founder and chief executive Kevin Systrom told the New York Times that people miss an average of 70 percent of the posts in their feeds. "What this is about is making sure that the 30 percent you see is the best 30 percent possible," he said.
The company is using machine-learning technology, as well as other signals of interest, to determine how to sort content. The timeliness of the posts and the relationship between users will also play a role, so that people you interact with more often appear higher in the feed.
The feed experiment reflects the social media platform's increasing popularity and the resulting surge in content. It currently has more than 400 million regular users — 75 percent of whom live outside the United States. Mike Krieger, the company's co-founder and chief technology officer, told the Times that international users often miss posts overnight due to time differences.
For now, only an unspecified single-digit percentage of users will test the algorithm. The results of the initial tests will determine whether the changes are made permanently across the platform. But there's every reason to assume they will be — among other things, Instagram recently de-emphasized timestamps on posts by shrinking them and putting them underneath the photo.
Twitter also changed its users' feeds to emphasize quality over chronology earlier this year. Like Instagram, the company began sorting tweets by a personalized algorithm. Twitter still allows users to opt out of the new feed, though, whereas Instagram suggested the new feed will not be optional.