Instagram takes to Twitter to address algorithm rumors

The photo-sharing platform used the rival channel to quell scuttlebutt that the app was limiting the reach of new posts. Despite its explanation, many users are demanding algorithm changes.

Instagram is keen to defend its algorithm, even on another social media platform.

The photo-sharing app took to Twitter to push back on a rampant rumor that the platform is limiting the reach of new photos. Accounts on Instagram have been sharing what looks like commonplace copy-and-paste spam.

Instagram has been vulnerable to such rumors since it changed its algorithm in 2016.

New York magazine wrote:

About a million years ago (specifically, 2016), Instagram forced algorithmic feeds on all its users. That meant the content they saw was no longer available in reverse chronological order and was instead shown in an order determined by a computer based on how users interacted with accounts they followed. It was a time of widespread panic, of influencers begging followers to “turn notifications on” so users would be alerted whenever they posted, and never miss a thing despite the pesky algorithm. Unsurprisingly, people mostly got over it. The promised Instagram apocalypse never truly descended. But this month it’s threatening to make a comeback in all its hyperbolic glory.

There’s a boilerplate post that’s been floating around Instagram this week claiming the platform “changed its algorithm for creators so only 7% of followers see our posts.” (FYI: This isn’t the first time such a post has popped up, but rather the first of … this year.) It then asks you, the follower, to like and comment “yes” because, as the post promises, this will trigger Instagram to start showing you that user’s posts again. It’s copy pasta — “copy and paste this status in the next fifteen minutes or else you’ll have bad luck for five years,” “American Airlines is giving away one, free round-trip ticket to the first 1,000 people to copy and share this status” — but for Instagram instead of Facebook statuses. An Instagram spokesperson told Intelligencer the feed team has not made any such adjustment to the algorithm. “This is false — we do not hide posts from your followers,” they said.

On Twitter, Instagram explained how the algorithm works:

Many users complain about the algorithm, which is derived from Facebook, but the company is unlikely to change anything about how users discover new photos.

Engadget reported:

The platform explained that the level of interaction determines the order of posts you see in your feed. It’s clear from the comments in that Twitter thread, though, that people don’t think that’s any better. Users are asking Instagram to go back to displaying posts in chronological order like it did before it adopted Facebook’s algorithmic feed. Instagram will likely continue to pattern its feed after its parent company’s, though, so you may want to pay more attention to the posts of people you actually care about.

If you want certain accounts to show up in your feed, you may have to “train” your algorithm by visiting those profiles regularly.

Users might be anxious about Instagram’s feed because its parent company, Facebook, dramatically reduced the organic reach of posts on its platform.

As we previously reported on PR Daily:

As [Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg] put it: “I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

He said he felt the News Feed had strayed from its mission. “Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content—posts from businesses, brands and media—is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other,” wrote Zuckerberg.

Not surprisingly, the move quickly sparked terror in the hearts of the businesses, brands and media creating public content. Digiday called it the “Great Facebook News Feed Purge” and an agency executive declared that “organic reach on Facebook is dead.”

These changes sent many marketers to Instagram—and many are watching for the moment when Instagram follows Facebook’s lead and turns the social media marketing world on its head.

On Twitter, users complained about Instagram’s algorithm:

What do you think of Instagram’s response, PR Daily readers?

(Image via)

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