Instagram’s feed is changing with new options to follow hashtags but that is not quite all of the changes in store for the photo-focused social platform. Instagram recently confirmed the test of “recommended for you” posts that will display images from users that you aren’t already following.
While only in testing for a handful of users, the recommended feature would put posts in the news feed based on posts friends have also liked or commented on and possible suggested posts powered by algorithms. The change would make Instagram a bit more like Facebook by adding recommended posts and not just posts from friends.
Instagram says that the feature isn’t entirely new — users can already find posts that friends have liked or other users that friends are now following by scrolling through the following tab inside the notifications or heart icon. The tested feature, however, would move some of those posts into the regular feed.
Instagram is currently testing a number of different ways that could change what appears in your feed. On Tuesday, December 12, the platform launched the ability to follow a hashtag to get specific topics, rather than specific people inside that feed, a tool it launched about a month after tests of the new feature leaked. Instagram is also testing the option to share posts, another Facebook-like feature that would mean some changes to what users see in the home feed.
The social media platform made the switch from a chronological feed to one based on algorithms last year, a change that was met with mixed reactions. Instagram said the move was to ensure users saw the posts that mattered most. A petition that gained more than 100,000 signatures (but ultimately failed) asked that users be allowed to opt out of the algorithms and keep the chronological feed.
While not as drastic as the switch from chronological to Facebook-style algorithms, Instagram’s new ability to allow users to hashtags could also change the way users interact with the platform — though of course, you don’t have to follow any hashtags if you want to keep your feed the same. In the announcement, the company said the change was just one of the ways it is working to help users discover new content and from the looks of it, some of those changes are already being tested.