Instagram’s New Recommend Feature

Jan 2018
Photo Credit: @white_emix

Something new just arrived to Instagram! The photo-sharing app will now show users suggested posts from accounts they do not follow directly to their Insta-feed. The feature began with a small rollout in December and has since made a quiet debut to all its users.

This change is the second recent update that focuses on widening users’ access to new content – last month, the company introduced a feature that allows users to follow hashtags. But unlike the hashtag feature, which gives users the choice to opt in, users don’t have the ability to turn off Recommendations. Users can, however, temporarily hide posts.

How Does It Work?

Users will no longer only see posts from accounts they directly follow in their feeds. Instagram’s algorithm will select 3-5 posts it thinks you may like based on your interests and the interests of your followers and display them among your followers’ posts in the main feed. The section will appear after you’ve viewed all the posts in your feed. Instagram previously recommended content to its users only through the Explore section, keeping a clear distinction between the two sections.

Users will now see suggested posts from accounts they do not follow directly to their Insta-feed. Click To Tweet

Why the Change?

What’s the reasoning behind this update? According to Instagram, it’s a way to connect its users to new and interesting content. And while that may be true, its also been suggested that it’s a way for Instagram to further enhance its targeting accuracy by collecting more data on its users’ preferences.

What Do Users Think?

Although this update may seem relatively minor, it’s actually a significant change when you give it more serious thought. The injection of recommended posts is yet another way Instagram is deviating from it’s once simple, chronological roots into a more Facebook-like platform run on algorithms. And just as users complained about Instagram’s algorithmic feed, many users aren’t thrilled with this new feature. Now, not only does Instagram have its algorithmic hand in your feed, it’s also further cluttering the space with recommended posts and hashtag tracking. Will these features be significant enough to change the way in which Instagram’s 800 million users interact with the app? While many users say yes, only time will tell.



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