It’s finally happening: Instagram is bringing back the chronological feed that users have been demanding for years since back in 2016. In a video shared on Twitter, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri revealed that the company is testing not one, but three variants. Content feed layout’s: Home, Favorites, and Following.
The home feed is what users are greeted with upon opening the app, which is essentially a potpourri of content that Instagram’s recommendation algorithm has curated for users. The content users see is based on what they like and comment on, what kind of content they can enjoy based on their viewing history, and more.
test feed change
We’re starting to test the ability to switch between three different views on your home screen (two of which will give you the option to view posts chronologically):
We expect to launch these soon. more to come. I pic.twitter.com/9zvB85aPSp
— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) 5 January 2022
The following feed is returning a chronological feed. It will be populated by the accounts that users follow, with all their posts arranged in the order they were posted. This feed is owned by a large majority of users, including me and my cat. A healthy portion of Instagram’s audience wouldn’t want to see content from the accounts they follow, buried in an algorithmically recommended barrage of photos and videos.
And finally, there’s a third feed option called Favorites. It really feels like a focused version of the following feed, but only populated by accounts you really care about. In the words of Mosseri himself, he uses it to view content posted by family members, close friends, and some of his favorite creators.
Interestingly, the Favorites feed is closest to the mantra that Instagram has often repeated – a place to connect with loved ones and share memories. I personally find myself most inclined to this idea, and wonder what took Instagram so long to actually implement it.
give more than promised
Giving users the option to consume only the content they want to watch, and in the order they want to watch it, ideally should have been an option from the get-go. Twitter, for example, allows users to switch between a chronological and curated timeline of tweets.
Sadly, last month it took a testimony before Congress to be on Instagram, where Mosseri himself revealed that the chronological feed was making a comeback. Closed-circle testing has already begun for a small set of users, and will be widely implemented in the first half of 2022.
The news is certainly persuasive, but it also has its drawbacks. For users who log into Instagram only to check on their friends and family members, the upcoming Favorites feed is a godsend. But limiting it to the same order will prevent users from discovering new content and creators that they might like.
That doesn’t bode well for Instagram’s thriving creator community, and it certainly doesn’t bode well for businesses. But in the end, Instagram is giving its actual users the power to define their social media needs and behavior. Overall, it is a net positive.