Instagram Reveal How their Algorithm Decides What Appears in Your Feed


Ever since Instagram first switched from a chronological feed to one dictated by an algorithm, the exact determining factors used to decide what you would and wouldn’t see have remained a mystery; until now that is.

Before the switch Instagram users missed on average 70% of all posts and 50% of their friends’ posts, according to a report from TechCrunch. So, despite some early backlash the idea seemed a logical one; as a result of the change Instagram now say that relevancy sorting has led to users seeing 90% of their friends’ posts - a substantial increase on times before the shift to an algorithm-based feed - and spending more time on the app in general. All this while, they stayed silent on the underlying mechanics.

Now however the Facebook-owned social media behemoth has seemingly abandoned their attempts at secrecy and instead opted to share the three most relevant factors when determining what appears in your feed. AI systems capable of machine learning then analyse your past interactions on the platform to further personalise your uniquely-tailored feed.

The aforementioned most relevant factors, as reported by TechCrunch, are:

Interest: How much Instagram predicts you’ll care about a post, with higher rankings given for what seemingly matters to you. This is determined by past behaviour on similar content and potentially AI analysis of the actual content of the post.

Timeliness: How recently the post was shared, with prioritisation for timely posts over weeks-old ones.

Relationship: How close you are to the person who shared it, with higher ranking for people you’ve interacted with a lot in the past on Instagram, such as by commenting on their posts or being tagged together in photos.

The algorithm also incorporates other factors including Frequency, Following, and Usage, albeit to a lesser extent.

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