Instagram pushes back against 'The Algorithm' - because it tracks every action you take on the app using 'a variety of algorithms'

Instagram pushes back against 'The Algorithm' -  because it tracks every action you take on the app using 'a variety of algorithms'
Instagram said "The Algorithm" does not determine what a user sees on their feed.Getty/Klaus Vedfelt
  • Instagram said it does not use "The Algorithm" to determine the content on users' social media feed.
  • In reality, Instagram says it has many different algorithms for Reels, Feed, and Explore.
  • A non-profit recently reported Instagram recommended posts containing misinformation.

Instagram said there is no one algorithm it uses to determine the content on your social media feed.

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri in a blog post said many users have a misconception that the firm uses "The Algorithm" to oversee the content that appears for an individual user.

In reality, Instagram uses a "variety" of algorithms and processes. The Feed where posts appear, the Explore section that shows content from non-followers, and TikTok-like video Reels all employ a different algorithm that determine the content a user sees.
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"People tend to look for their closest friends in Stories, but they want to discover something entirely new in Explore," Mosseri said in the blog. "We rank things differently in different parts of the app, based on how people use them."

Users and organizations have said Instagram's algorithm can share misinformation and censor content. The non-profit Center for Countering Digital Hate reported Instagram recommended posts containing misinformation and conspiracy theories to 15 volunteers who made new accounts. The firm reportedly made adjustments to the algorithm to favor viral content after users said they could not see content made by Palestinians and Palestinian allies during recent conflicts in Israel.
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Algorithm Watch, a research and advocacy organization focused on algorithmic decision-making, found bumped semi-nude photos for a group of 26 volunteer users.

When the platform launched in 2010, Instagram showed users photos posted by their friends in chronological order. The company created algorithms to let users see the posts they care about most to make sure no one missed important content, Mosseri said in the release.
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