Don't believe the rumors: Instagram isn't killing the algorithm

You might hate Instagram’s algorithm but you’re still stuck with it.

Image: lili sams/mashable

Hey, Instagram haters: Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the company has no plans to change its algorithm-based photo feed, despite what you may have heard.

Rumors began swirling late last week that the photo-sharing app had miraculously decided to reverse the two-year-old decision to implement an algorithmic feed. Naturally, bloggers and Instagram influencers promptly lost their collective shit.

Unfortunately for them, though, the “rumor” is just another example of how quickly social platforms can amplify misinformation. Instagram has outright denied it. 

The rumor began when photographer Jack Harding, claiming to be an Instagram employee, posted on his Story last Friday that Instagram was moving “back to chronological order.” He purportedly posted a video showing eight posts from his feed in chronological order. Harding has 169,000 followers and the rumor quickly took off from there. 

Instagram is adamant that is has no such plans. An Instagram spokesperson confirmed this, calling the rumor “totally untrue.” The spokesperson also confirmed that Harding is not employed by the company.

When reached for comment, Harding said his comments about working at Instagram were a “joke” and that he “later clarified for my followers who may not have originally understood this joke.” But, as we’ve seen so many times before, it appears as if Harding’s “clarification” didn’t spread nearly as widely as his original post. 

It’s also worth pointing out that Instagram’s current algorithm does take recency into account. So it’s entirely possible to open your feed and see a handful of posts that are in chronological order. It doesn’t mean Instagram is testing anything new or that the feed has changed in a fundamental way.

Harding declined to share his original post with me (though you can see snippets of it on other blogs) so it’s impossible to say for sure if this is the explanation for what he claims to have seen. (A less kind explanation would be that he made the whole thing up entirely.)

Regardless, the incident should serve as yet another reminder that we shouldn’t be so quick to believe everything we read on social media.

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