The photo-sharing platform, Instagram, will now show users recommended posts on their feeds – a change that earlier this month was spotted while in testing, and has since quietly gone live. The feature, described in the Help documentation, will suggest posts for you based on those that have been liked by other accounts you follow.
The company says, the new section, “Recommended for You,” is clearly labeled so as not to be confused with your own home feed. It will contain three to five suggested posts.
It is understood that it isn’t the first time Instagram has offered recommended content. But previously, you’d have to head to the Explore section to see recommended posts and videos – they wouldn’t be pushed to your home feed. You could also see what posts friends have been liking in the Following section, if you chose.
The injection of recommended content is a fairly big change for Instagram’s feed – perhaps one of the largest since the switch from the chronological feed to the algorithmic one, or the introduction of ads. It means users scrolling through their home feed will now no longer only see posts from accounts they directly follow alongside the ads. They’ll see things from their wider network, too – not entirely different from Facebook’s new Explore feed.
The change comes shortly after another update also focused on broadening users’ access to content beyond what’s being posted to those accounts you explicitly follow. Earlier this month, the company introduced a way to allow users to follow hashtags – in other words, you can now follow your interests, not just accounts.
But unlike the hashtags feature, which is opt in (as you choose if you want to track hashtags and, if so, which ones), you can’t really disable the new recommendations.
As the Help documentation explains, you can only choose to temporarily hide the “Recommended for You” section. This is done by tapping the three-dot menu above the post, then tapping on “Hide.”
The good news is that the “Recommended for You” section is not meant to displace the content you care about in favor of Instagram’s own suggestions. Rather, the section will appear after you’ve viewed all the posts in your feed, an Instagram spokesperson explains.
Instagram says the feature, which is available on both iOS and Android, is currently rolling out. It didn’t confirm when that rollout would be completed and become available to all of Instagram’s users.
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