Instagram revealed today how it organizes users’ feeds, including how it considers different factors in its algorithm. Up until now, Instagram’s feed was sort of a mystery science. Posts from family members and close friends show up near the top, which was the goal of the company’s decision to move away from the reverse-chronological feed in 2016, but the way the app filled in the blanks between those close friends was slightly mysterious.
Instagram product lead Julian Gutman explained to TechCrunch and other outlets, including The Verge, today that it ranks three main factors when creating users’ feeds: interest, recency, and relationship. Interest is how much Instagram thinks you’ll care about a post, with the most important obviously coming to the top. Recency just means Instagram prioritizes newer posts, and your relationship to the poster is of course also considered.
The more you’ve interacted with someone on the platform, the more likely you are to see their content up front. Instagram also takes three other factors into account: frequency, following, and usage. Frequency is how often you actually open the app, as it wants to show you the best posts since you last opened. Following means that if you follow lots of people, Instagram might show you less from one specific person so you can see more from all the people you follow. Usage is how long you spend on Instagram, so the app determines when to show you the best posts and whether you’ll see less important posts.
Instagram also cleared up some misconceptions today. It’s not considering an option for the reverse-chronological…