While Instagram’s move to start reordering users’ feeds won’t have kicked in yet for most people, an online petition demanding the company ditch the idea and revert to its chronological system has nevertheless already picked up well over 100,000 signatures in little more than a day.
The company said earlier this week that as users apparently miss quite a few of the images and videos that appears in their feeds, it’s going to begin using an algorithm to push the “content you care about the most” to the top, ignoring when it was posted.
Instagrammer Sarah Heard, who launched the petition, asks if an algorithmically powered feed is something the Instagram community really wants.
“At the very least, shouldn’t the community be able to opt in, rather than having it mandated that this is how we will now see our feed?” Heard says on the petition’s webpage.
Taking interaction with other users as an indicator of interest, the algorithm works to push content from your “favorite” Instragrammers to the top of your feed. That means a shot taken a minute ago by a user you rarely interact with has a greater chance of appearing way down your feed.
Heard notes that Instagram has promised to listen to feedback regarding the new system, which will be rolled out gradually to all users in the coming months.
“So, if you do not want your feed to be presented in an order that you don’t have any control over and would prefer to have it presented in the current chronological format or – at least – have the choice to sort your feed the way you want, please sign the petition so that Instagram can take our feedback on board.”
Facebook, which happens to own Instagram, has been using algorithms for its News Feed for a few years now, while Twitter also recently pulled a similar move.
The new system upset a lot of Twitter users when it was announced last month, so the company reassured concerned users by making it an opt-in feature. Interestingly, it’s just quietly switched it so users must now opt out to ensure the newest tweets appear at the top, like before.
Social media companies think that pushing the “best” content to the top will encourage users to engage with the service for longer, thereby leading them to more ads, which of course results in more pleased marketers as well as more revenue for the company running the show.