It’s been said, many times, but it’s worth repeating: Instagram’s algorithmic timeline is a steaming pile of nonsense.
The photo-focused social network replaced its chronological feed with an algorithmic oneback in 2016, meaning the content you see is ranked according to the likelihood you’ll “care about it.” What this feature denies is the ability for you to select what you actually care about and see it at a glance.
This “algorithm knows best” approach is common in online services many of us use every day, including Facebook, which owns Instagram. There’s no particular reason to examine this now, except that people seem newly agitated by the unseen forces determining what they see on social networks.
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported on YouTube’s content recommendations, which are designed to keep viewers engaged, but often surface bizarre conspiracy theories even for benign searches like “the pope” or “lunar eclipse.” Similarly, Mashable reported in October that kids are tricked by sketchy YouTube channels into watching strange, violent videos using their favorite cartoon characters. And there’s hardly any need to mention the obvious “fake news” crisis on Facebook’s News Feed.
Which is to say, this is a bad time for Instagram, one of the world’s most popular social networks, to rely entirely on an algorithmic feed. People are wising up. So, here are two very simple “duh” recommendations pulled directly from the service’s big brother, Facebook: