Instagram Finally Explains How It Recommends Posts and Stories
Instagram’s CEO, Adam Mosseri, has released a detailed blog post aiming to clarify how the platform’s recommendation algorithms work and to address concerns over “shadowbanning.” Mosseri explained that Instagram does not have a single algorithm governing content visibility but employs multiple algorithms and ranking systems for different parts of the app, such as Explore, Reels, Stories, and search. Each of these sections utilizes various signals to determine content ranking for individual users.
Mosseri emphasized that the order of posts in the main feed is influenced by users’ past activities and interactions with the creators. Similarly, Stories take into account viewing history and the “closeness” between users. Recommendations in Explore are predominantly based on users’ past interactions, including likes, saves, shares, and comments, but are more likely to come from accounts with which users have not previously engaged.
One notable section of Mosseri’s blog post focuses on addressing the concept of shadowbanning. While he acknowledges the lack of a universal definition, Mosseri recognizes that creators often use the term to suggest that their content or accounts are unfairly limited or hidden without proper explanation. Instagram is committed to enhancing transparency around situations where creators’ content or accounts are excluded from the app’s recommendations.
Mosseri highlights the “account status” feature, which alerts users if their posts or accounts are deemed “ineligible” for recommendations. This feature also includes an appeals process. Although Instagram has previously touched upon the issue of shadowbanning, there is a noticeable shift in the company’s approach. They now aim to provide creators with more information and opportunities to appeal if their content’s visibility is diminished due to policy violations.
Furthermore, Instagram is conducting tests to introduce new notifications that inform creators when the reach of their Reels may be limited because of a watermark. This move aligns with Instagram’s long-standing efforts to discourage the posting of recycled TikToks to Reels.
While some creators may still find these explanations insufficient, the latest details underscore the increasing significance of algorithmic recommendations on Instagram. Despite the reintroduction of an optional chronological feed, Instagram’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has expressed his desire to transform Instagram and Facebook into “discovery engines” prioritizing recommendations over posts from friends.
The transparency provided by Instagram’s blog post represents a step toward demystifying the platform’s algorithms. However, given the mixed reactions evident in the comments section of Mosseri’s Instagram post, it is evident that some creators remain dissatisfied. Instagram’s commitment to addressing concerns and improving communication around content visibility and account status is likely to evolve as the platform continues its transformation into a recommendation-driven experience.