Image-based social media platform Instagram’s users will now have “recommended posts” published to their feeds, a change that seems to have been made with no official announcement.
Users spotted the shift while it was still in testing earlier this month and, according to Instagram’s Help page, the new item exists to direct users toward posts they might like based on likes generated by other accounts users follow. The new section, “Recommended for You,” is clearly labeled so as not to be confused with a user’s own home feed. It is designed to hold three to five suggested posts.
Curation in content is not new ground for Instagram, but before now users had to inentionally go to the Explore section of the site or app to find recommended posts and videos. Those items did not automatically place themselves on users’ home feeds.
The change will mean users will no longer only see posts from accounts they directly follow and the occasional ad, but will also get a feel for their wider network’s interests as well. Recommended for You is reflective of other switches Instagram has put into effect, too. In early December, the platform made it possible for users to follow hashtags a la Twitter to make Instagram searchable topically as well as by users.
But, unlike the hashtags feature, which is opt-in — people choose if they want to track hashtags and, if so, which ones — one can’t really disable the new recommendations, though users can temporarily chose to hide them. The “Recommended for You” section is not meant to displace user-chosen content in favor of what Instagram’s algorithm feels users should see. Instead, recommended selections will only appear after one has viewed all the posts in one’s feed, according to Instagram.
Users, none the less, have already complained about the change. A lot. And they’ve done so on Twitter.