It seems that privacy and transparency are becoming a thing in 2021, and people’s interest in their own privacy, security, and the way their data is governed grows. Companies work towards offering more transparency and now Instagram has published one such blog post, shedding the light on how Instagram works.
Instagram published a post explaining how its algorithms work
Adam Mosseri, the Head of Instagram, starts his post by underlining that in order to trust something, you need to know how it works. The blog post is focused on clearing some misconceptions about Instagram’s algorithms and the way the platform works in general.
First off, he addresses a common misconception about “The Algorithm” – a single almighty algorithm that monitors what people see and don’t see on Instagram, and he says the platform uses a variety of different algorithms that each have their own function and task in organizing the content you visualize. In the beginning, in 2010, Instagram showed you photos in chronological order, which, over time, proved impossible to maintain with the growing platform.
Then the company developed a way to show you the most relevant posts. The separate parts of the app – Feed, Explore, Reels – use their own set of algorithms to determine the content that’s the most relevant to its users. The blog post gives an example that people look for their closest friends in Stories, but in Explore, they want something new and interesting.
The blog post also explains how Instagram ranks content
According to the info shared by Adam Mosseri, each post on Instagram is ranked based on information the app extracts about it. The most important one is the popularity of a post; however, your recent activity and history of interacting with someone also play a role in this. And so does the likelihood of you liking or saving the post, or commenting on it.
All these different signals will determine how well the post will be ranked in your feed. Pretty much, the company is trying to show you posts you are most likely to engage with.
In the ‘Explore’ section, although the focus is different, Instagram tries to predict what you may like and show you posts that you might engage with.
In the ‘Reels’ section, things are a bit different. Instagram will show you clips it determines you may find funny or interesting, and it tries to determine Reels you will watch to the end.
‘Shadowbanning’ is also addressed in the blog post
Shadowbanning is a term people use when they feel Instagram is silencing them or when they seem to be getting fewer likes or comments on posts. Adam Mosseri states that there’s no way Instagram can guarantee you can constantly get the same level of interaction with your posts and he underlines some people look at half of their Feed.
However, he does state Instagram is working on improving the transparency of, for example, why certain posts have been deleted, and he says that in the future, there will be improved notifications on these topics.
Mosseri finishes by saying that you can influence what you see by picking your closest friends, muting people you’re not interested in, and mark recommended posts as “Not Interested.”