The Insta Outcry: Why The New Instagram Feed Update is Making Waves

By James Kwon

Instagram announced Tuesday that the company will begin filtering the order of photos in each feed based on an algorithm. Since that update, there’s been a rallying outcry against this disruptive Instagram feed update. But why?

For those who may have missed it, here’s their statement in full:

You may be surprised to learn that people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds. As Instagram has grown, it’s become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share. This means you often don’t see the posts you might care about the most.

To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.

The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post. As we begin, we’re focusing on optimizing the order — all the posts will still be there, just in a different order.

If your favorite musician shares a video from last night’s concert, it will be waiting for you when you wake up, no matter how many accounts you follow or what time zone you live in. And when your best friend posts a photo of her new puppy, you won’t miss it.

We’re going to take time to get this right and listen to your feedback along the way. You’ll see this new experience in the coming months.

Given that Facebook is the parent company of Instagram, this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Facebook announced a similar change in November 2014, which pushed the organic reach of brands and businesses down to an average of 2%, causing many to re-evaluate their social media strategies.

Since then agencies, like ours, have advised clients to utilize Facebook advertising or take advantage of platforms such as Instagram that offer 100% organic reach.

When it became clear that this would be changing, an outcry quickly spread aross the internet. Many users are protesting using the hashtag #KeepInstagramChronological and a petition created on Change.org received 70,000 signatures within the first 24 hours. Even celebrities are weighing in, like John Mayer, who asked the network to to keep the “communical experience alive” and questioned “if I’m not even sure what’s relevant to me, how will you know?”

Unfortunately, these changes aren’t limited to Instagram either. Twitter released a statement in February that their feeds would be changing based on an algorithm rather than a timeline as well. The network had previewed this change in recent months through a feature called “while you were away.” The push back against Twitter has been less intense than Instagram because the network is offering it as an option that can be turned on and off in settings. If Instagram heeds the feedback of their community, then perhaps their new algorithm will be optional, too. Stay tuned!