A series of viral posts claiming Instagram limits posts to 7% of a person’s following has prompted the company to respond.
There is too much content. That is not an opinion, so much as it is a statement of fact. Unless an individual commits to following a small number of accounts online the chances that they see everything posted by everyone and every brand they love are incredibly low. The leading social media platforms know this to be true, which is why most rely on algorithms to determine what content users see and in what order that content appears in their feed.
Recently, Instagram came under fire from public outcry after a post went viral on the photo-sharing site claiming that just 7% of a person’s following will see their latest post. The claim was then amplified as accounts of all sizes began regurgitating the baseless accusation and encouraging people to engage more with posts they like to ensure that content is seen.
Instagram broke its silence on the matter earlier this week via Twitter. In a series of tweets, the company stated, “What shows up first in your feed is determined by what posts and accounts you engage with the most, as well as other contributing factors such as the timeliness of posts, how often you use Instagram, how many people you follow, etc.”
Their explanation continued in a second tweet, adding “We have not made any recent changes to feed ranking, and we never hide posts from people you’re following – if you keep scrolling, you will see them all. Again, your feed is personalized to you and evolves over time based on how you use Instagram.”
Essentially, Instagram fine tunes users’ feeds based on the content they interact with the most. The company places an emphasis on user engagement over when an item was posted. Facebook, which owns Instagram, does something similar with its users news feed.
Twitter faced scrutiny after it made similar changes to how tweets appear on users’ timelines. However, chronological order has returned to Twitter as of September 2018.
Facebook has made no plans to reintroduce a chronological timeline to its platform, so it is unlikely that Instagram will change their approach to content curation anytime soon.
For now, users hoping to see specific content should make it a point to like posts from the accounts they most enjoy. Keep in mind, however, that engaging with highly active accounts, such as those who post multiple times a day, will drown out less active accounts over time.