Social media users express their dissatisfaction with Instagram’s announcement of their move to an algorithmic feed
Last week Instagram announced that the 400+ million users strong platform will soon be switching from their chronological timeline to an algorithmic feed. In their announcement, the 5-year-old, Facebook-owned company explained that “people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds” and an algorithm will optimize users’ experiences on the platform by showing them posts Instagram thinks they will like most.
Adweek said this change was inevitable. Was it though?
Social media users were not happy about this announcement, taking to Instagram and other social media platforms to express their dissatisfaction with this update. Two hashtags –#RIPInstagram and #KeepInstagramChronological– even began to trend on Twitter as the news broke.
People also expressed their anger via Facebook’s newly launched Reactions(maybe Facebook should have announced this change after Instagram’s algorithm announcement…) and via comments on posts reporting about this change.
Almost all of the comments on the above Social Media Today article post were negative. Some even wrote that they think that Facebook is just trying to get more money out of marketers, not trying to make user experience better.
“I always love how social networks think they know what I love best. There are many things I’d love to get first on Instagram – like notifications that aren’t all clumped in one spot. It’s a nightmare for big brands to see all comments, likes and new followers together. Clearly a move to leverage ads more.” –Nycole Hampton
Other comments included:
“And so it begins… First the algorithm, then the further decline in organic reach and engagement. Instagram is now the new Facebook” –Sarah Hudnall
“Ugh, this is going to be the death of Instagram. All you’ll get is sponsored posts and the stuff from people with millions of followers. Everything else will just vanish.” –Lee Osborne
“Not happy at all. I don’t like letting strangers to decide what I can and what I can’t see on my feed. A further step to Instagram facebookization.” –Federica Scrigner
A petition was even created in an attempt to stop this change before it launches in a few months. Last I checked it had over 209,000 signatures.
Is this change a wise move? Many argue that Instagram has enjoyed its popularity because of its simple, chronological feed, and if it moves to an algorithmic feed it will lose its uniqueness.
I recently read (and tweeted) an excellent article posted on Medium about the real-time messaging service Slack. The author argued that Slack shot to popularity, barreling past competitors, due to a few key aspects, one of which was social isolation. Slack is a very quick moving platform. This serves a very important purpose: “if you don’t follow Slack all the time you do not and cannot take part in the conversation with your team members anymore.” THIS is what Instagram will lose out on — the social isolation and therefore addiction to the app. The chronological order of photos almost forces users to constantly check the app so they don’t miss out on anything.
With this in mind, will Snapchat fill the void that the algorithmic version of Instagram will create? Snapchat stories only last 24 hours, so if you don’t view a friend’s story in that small time frame, you’ll never see their story, which can create social isolation.
One commenter, David Mollison, on the above post thinks so. He said: “Terrible idea. Snap Chat [sic] will take over because of this.”