Social media users responding negatively to an update or change on any given platform is nothing new. Nearly any time adjustments are made—particularly those that impact the feed content or user-interface—the frustrated comments start rolling in immediately. And…that’s a natural reaction!
And sometimes, when an algorithm is determining what we see, we miss some of that. But what we gain is the benefits of automated curation. After all—we are busy—and we simply don’t have time to read or see it all.
“We believe in more transparency and accountability and we believe in more control. That’s why we’re currently working on a version of a chronological feed that we hope to launch next year.” Image Source
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Luckily, they’ll no longer have to do any of those things thanks to a chronological feed being back on the table. In fact, users will be able to choose between 3 different Instagram feeds:
This reverse chronological order Instagram feed is closest to ‘the old Instagram’ — the feed users experienced before Instagram launched their algorithmically determined feeds in 2016. For those 140 people searching “How to change Instagram feed back to chronological” every month—this feed’s for you.
To be certain, Instagram is more than pictures. It even has Instagram Reels, its very own video platform, built right in. But it’s those pictures we want to be sure we don’t miss just because life got busy and we missed a day on the ‘gram—those visual life updates from family and friends near and far, each worth one thousand words of its own.
- Instagram Home Feed (the current, algorithmically-determined feed)
- Instagram Favorites Feed (user-curated feed; includes posts from hand-selected accounts, with those posts displayed in chronological order)
- Instagram Following Feed (purely chronological order)
As shared by TechCrunch, during the Senate hearing, “Mosseri was asked if he believed consumers should be able to use the Instagram app without “being manipulated by algorithms,” and the executive said he would support giving people the option to have a chronological feed.” Mosseri went on to explain that Instagram was actually already working on such an update, saying:
Instagram: The Early Years
Many of us spend hours each day on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and beyond, and when the contents of our feeds are disrupted—or we don’t know where to find something that’s been moved—the adjustment period and learning curve can be a temporary annoyance. After a few days or weeks, we have familiarized ourselves with the once-new, and go back to scrolling as usual like nothing happened.
For users that are satisfied with their current Instagram feed, and the content it surfaces for them based on Instagram’s algorithms, things can continue without interruption. The Instagram feed that we’re all currently using will continue to be available, as the default feed, when the two new feed options rollout, though there are plans to include “more and more recommendations over time” within the Home feed, as Mosseri notes in this video-inclusive Tweet.
But…that’s not always the case. And the cries for Instagram to bring back the chronological feed never fully quieted.
In December 2021, Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, made his first testimonies to the US Senate “as part of a series of hearings about online safety for children and teens.” This testimony was in response to a request from Sen. Richard Blumenthal, asking that Mark Zuckerberg or Mosseri take part in a Senate hearing.
“When we first launched in 2010, Instagram was a single stream of photos in chronological order. But as more people joined and more was shared, it became impossible for most people to see everything, let alone all the posts they cared about. By 2016, people were missing 70% of all their posts in Feed, including almost half of posts from their close connections. So we developed and introduced a Feed that ranked posts based on what you care about most.”
Instagram Goes to the Senate (and teases a chronological feed)
Like all things in life, there are pros and cons to all of Instagram’s feed options, and deciding which you prefer might even change from day to day; luckily, the option to switch things up is just a toggle away. Because fortunately, change is what social media does best.
Which brings us to today…
This feed subset will give users the option to select specific accounts that are most important to them. These accounts can be personal Instagram accounts of family and friends, or any account type that a user deems worthy of Favorites status. Posts will be sorted chronologically, with the feed only including posts from the selected accounts.
“I write to request your participation in a Congressional hearing on Instagram and kids. Parents across America are deeply disturbed by ongoing reports that Facebook knows that Instagram can cause destructive and lasting harms to many teens and children, especially to their mental health and wellbeing. Those parents, and the twenty million teens that use your app, have a right to know the truth about the safety of Instagram.”