How the Instagram algorithm works and which posts are seen the most in the feed

The social network Instagram You have tried to clarify various aspects of the operation of your content organization algorithm, and has explained the criteria that follow to choose which publications show first in the feed, Explore or Reels, or why some publications have less visibility than others from the same account.

When Instagram launched in 2010, the social network showed the posts of the accounts which were followed by the user in reverse chronological order, but with the growth of the platform, in 2016 users did not see 70 percent of the publications, and almost half of the content of their closest friends was lost.

For this reason, it currently uses a series of algorithms to personalize its experience, not just one as is usually believed, one of the several "misconceptions" that users of the social network have and that it has wanted to clarify to be more transparent, such as has assured the director of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, it's a statement.

In the case of the 'feed', or bulletin board, and the Ephemeral content stories, Instagram selects all the content published by accounts that the user follows, and uses what it calls "signals", thousands of personalized indicators for each user.

Instagram signals include information about the post, such as how many 'likes' it has had, when it was posted, its duration if it's a video, and the location from which it was sent.

The level of interaction with other users or recent account activity is also analyzed. With this information Instagram carries out a series of predictions, "educated guesses about the probability of have the user interact with a post"according to Mosseri.

The Instagram 'feed' takes into account five types of interactions: that the user spends several seconds on a publication, that he comments on it, that he clicks 'I like', save it or click on the profile photo. The more likely it is for each post using the signals, the sooner the content is displayed. The signals and predictions are periodically renewed.

In the case of Stories, Instagram I did not use to prioritize content shared from other platforms, but currently it has established an exception for when Stories are shared from other platforms at large sporting events or social protests.

There are other exceptions, such as cases in which a publication is identified as disinformation or those in which the content violates the content policy of the social network owned by Facebook, cases in which the publication is silenced.

The Explore section

The Explore section Instagram uses a different algorithm than the 'feed' and Stories, as users seek to discover new content and Instagram focuses on providing recommendations.

In these cases, Instagram selects the contents that the user has marked with 'Like', saved or commented, and look for the activity of other users who have the same interests to suggest new content.

Once you have a series of posts the user might be interested in, the Explore order works in a similar way to the 'feed', since Instagram uses the same signals to predict the probability that the user is interested in each one.

Operation of Reels

Instagram has also clarified how it organizes the content of its Reels section of short videos, similar to the format of TikTok, which is designed to "entertain"to the user and that includes much of the content of accounts that the person does not follow.

To find out what content is entertaining, the social network carries out a series of polls in which it asks users if they consider a Reel entertaining or fun.

The indicators for the prediction become, as in the case of Explore, user activity, interaction with the account that publishes it, information about the post and the popularity of some channels.

Muted posts

Likewise, Instagram has responded to users who think that the social network silences some publications because they receive lower engagement figures, such as 'likes' and comments, than other content.

"We can't promise that you will consistently reach the same number of people when you post. The truth is, most of your followers won't see what you share, because most look at less than half of your feed, "according to Mosseri.

However, the platform has acknowledged that it could have done more to explain the reasons why it removes the content and ensures that it is "developing better notifications within the 'app'" for this feature, and explore new ways to let users know when a post goes against their policies.


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