Why Half Your Instagram Feed Isn’t Made Up Of People You Follow

Instagram is supposed to be simple. You follow friends and people you are interested in and the feed shows their new content. What if that wasn’t how it worked at all? Anyone who has spent too much time on the app has surely noticed more and more suggested posts and fewer people they actively follow. Here’s why.

The new Instagram feed

Last month, Meta rolled out one of its millions of updates for Instagram, but this one shook people up. It apparently brought posts from the suggested tab on the main stream. To make matters worse, there is nothing you can do about it. The change was noticed immediately by Daily show host Trevor Noah.

The new flow is part of the new standards and practices. Most of the feed is now recommended rather than what was actually followed, so everything looks like the explore page. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri recently posted a video on Twitter in which he explains why the change was made.

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Mosseri explained, “We are moving Instagram to a place where video is a bigger part of the home experience, where the content is more immersive. Relying more on recommendations ensures that full-screen content will be displayed. Ironically, Mosseri cites how this will give people more control, but there’s no way to disable the feature.

Mosseri insists this is just a test. Perhaps the widespread negative press will force Meta to return to its page, but that seems rather unlikely. The Facebook feed has transformed in the same way: in the past, likes and friends turned into a drip stream of shouts and advertisements.

The temptation of cynicism

Everything on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and every other social media platform imaginable is designed to keep you on the app. They’re designed to be addictive, and it’s not hard to imagine how the new featured page helps with that.

A pessimist would tell anyone who only used Instagram to see what their friends were up to, that world is gone now. Instead, they’re forced to see tons of content that the algorithm says will keep them on the app.

An interesting escape

If you’re longing for the days of an Instagram from March, there’s an easy way to get back to where you are today. The desktop version of the platform has not been updated to clog the main stream with suggested content. Well, not yet at least.

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