The photo-sharing app said its users are “liking photos more” despite their protest against its algorithm-based feeds.
Three months after testing its algorithm-based feeds on a portion of its 400 million users, Instagram declared its experiment a success.
“People are liking photos more, commenting more and generally engaging with the community in a more active way,” the popular photo-sharing platform which Facebook acquired for US$1 billion said in a blog post in June. Encouraged by these findings, Instagram will likely phase out its old chronological feeds altogether.
Previously, photos that appeared on a user’s feed were displayed according to the order in which they were posted. Now, the photos are likely to appear in an order decided by an algorithm “based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the posts”, Instagram said. Such “personalized” display of content and ads is becoming commonplace not only on social media networks, but increasingly, news sites and e-commerce portals as well.
When the change was announced in March, Instagram got many of its users up in arms. Social media chatters were peppered with hashtags such as #thefeedisamess, #letmedecidewhatiwant, #RIPinstagram among others. More than 340,000 users have also signed a petition to ask for the feeds to remain chronological.
“We believe an algorithm-based feed will be detrimental to small business owners and artists who use this platform to communicate their products and services,” the petition on change.org reads.
Singer-songwriter Khairul Ridzwan (@whatrhymeswkhai) is one casualty of the change. The 21-year-old who relies on Instagram to plug his new covers and gig updates has seen his popularity – based on the number of likes for his posts – drop drastically.
“I used to always post my pictures during prime time (9pm – 10pm) and I could get over 250 likes and 800 to 900 views for my videos,” he said.
“Now, when I post gig updates and performance photos, I’d only get about 100 likes and 200 views.”
Other users such as Carrine Low (@carrinelow) feel less impact.
“I’m still able to garner the same average number of likes and comments for each post,” the 19-year-old influencer who has 8,342 followers told UrbanWire, adding that people don’t have to see this change negatively.
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