Category Archives: Instagram

Instagram Changes Its Ranking System to Highlight Original Content



Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, tweeted about new features. “We’ve added new ways to tag and improve ranking: Product Tags, Enhanced Tags, Ranking for originality. Creators are so important to the future of Instagram, and we want to make sure that they are successful and get all the credit they deserve.”

TechCrunch reported that shortly after that announcement, a spokesperson from Instagram sent an email saying that Instagram is making changes to its ranking algorithm to prioritize the distribution of original content, rather than reposted content, in places like the Reels tab and feed.

The Verge reported that product tags are now available to everyone on Instagram, and you can assign yourself to a category like “Photographer” or “Rapper” and have that category show up every time you’re tagged in a post. Instagram is also going to start more heavily promoting original content on the platform.

The Verge also suggested that this is Instagram’s way of saying “Please, please, please stop just posting your favorite TikTok’s to Reels. We’re begging you.”

Engadget reported that the move to prioritize original content comes as Instagram has taken other steps to incentivize creators to post original content on its platform first, rather than re-sharing clips from TikTok and other apps. According to Engadget, the change seems to be geared toward discouraging accounts that simply aggregate and distribute popular memes and other re-posted content.

In addition, Engadget pointed out that those who don’t like Instagram’s ranked feed have an alternative now. Instagram brought back its chronological feed, but it is not enabled by default.

This news comes at a really good time for me, personally. I was in the process of deleting my Instagram account, photo by photo. The process is tedious and time consuming, and you can only delete one photo (or video) at a time. I noticed I had a lot of art on there and decided to make my account a showcase for my art and changed the name on my account to reflect that.

People who create original content and post it on Instagram should get credit for their work. It has always bothered me when accounts on social media content-scrape other people’s original content and try to pass it off as their own. I am happily surprised that Instagram is going in a direction that protects artists and their content.


Instagram Asks Users to Make Second Accounts



How long ago did you make your Instagram account? Is it something you still enjoy using? If not, you might consider making a second Instagram account. According to the Wall Street Journal, Instagram is allowing users to make a second account.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Instagram has quietly rolled out a pop-up over the past year that encourages users to “try a new account”. The notice says it will help people “keep up with a smaller group of friends” and explore their interests more easily.

Users get a choice of whether to link accounts – treating the second account as an extension of their first, like a new viewer profile in Netflix – or as a totally separate account with its own login, said Christine Pai, a spokesperson for Instagram’s parent, Meta Platforms, Inc. That determines whether Instagram considers this to be one active user or multiple. If the two accounts aren’t linked, a user can delete one with no impact on the other.

In my opinion, the option to make a second Instagram account might be beneficial for people who followed a bunch of accounts that they are no longer are interested in. That could mean accounts from brands and stores they no longer shop at. The option of making a new account could be useful for “influencers” who want some privacy.

In addition, teens who followed a lot of people upon joining Instagram might want a second account that they can start over with. It would give them the opportunity to be more selective about who they want to follow – and could help them avoid bullying. A person who realizes they are transgender, and who is now “out”, might want a new account that reflects the person they are today.


Instagram Sheds Light on How it Works



Have you ever wondered why you see posts on Instagram in the order that you do? Instagram posted a detailed blog post titled: “Shedding More Light on How Instagram Works”. I found some of the things in their blog post to be interesting.

Instagram explained that it doesn’t have one algorithm that oversees what people do and don’t see on the app. Instead, they use “a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its own purpose.” Each part of the Instagram app – Feed, Explore, and Reels – uses its own algorithm tailored to how people use it.

With the exception of ads, Instagram says that the majority of what you see is shared by those you follow. Instagram uses what they call “signals” – and there are thousands of them. Here are some of the “signals” they look for when deciding how to rank a post:

Information about the post: These are signals both about how popular a post is – think how many people have liked it – and more mundane information about the content itself, like when it was posted, how long it is if it’s a video, and what location, if any, was attached to it.

Information about the person who posted: This helps Instagram to get a sense for how interesting the person might be to you, and includes signals like how many times people have interacted with that person in the past few weeks.

Your activity:
This helps Instagram understand what you might be interested in and includes signals such as how many posts you’ve liked.

Your history of interacting with someone: This gives Instagram a sense of how interested you are generally in seeing posts from a particular person. An example is whether or not you comment on each other’s posts.

From this, I am getting the feeling that Instagram has been collecting a whole lot of data about its users. Personally, this makes me uncomfortable. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, considering that Facebook owns Instagram.

Instagram also wrote about “Shadowbanning” (which they have put in quotes). Instagram states that “shadowbanning” is a broad term that people use to describe many different experiences on Instagram. Instagram concludes that they need to be more clear about why they take down content, what is recommendable, and what isn’t.

In addition, Instagram notes that people consider their posts that are getting fewer likes or comments as a form of “shadowbanning”. Instagram responds: “We can’t promise you that you’ll consistently reach the same amount of people when you post. The truth is most of your followers won’t see what you share, because most look at less than half of their feed.”


GIPHY has been Acquired by Facebook



Facebook has acquired GIPHY to be part of the Instagram team. GIPHY was created in 2013 with the goal of making communication more fun. GIPHY announced that it will be joining the team at Instagram. This makes sense, considering that GIPHY’s stickers had already been added to Instagram stories, and their GIF search is accessible in Instagram direct messages.

Facebook announced that GIPHY is joining the Facebook company today. Facebook plans to further integrate GIPHY’s GIF library into Instagram and other apps. Facebook has used GIPHY’s API for years in Instagram, the Facebook app, Messenger and WhatsApp.

A lot of people in our community already know and love GIPHY. In fact, 50% of GIPHY’s traffic comes from the Facebook family of apps, half of that from Instagram alone. By bringing Instagram and GIPHY together, we can make it easier for people to find the perfect GIFs and stickers in Stories and Direct. Both our services are big supporters of the creator and artist community, and that will continue. Together, we can make it easier for anyone to create and share their work with the world.

Facebook says GIPHY will continue to operate its library, including global content collection. Facebook will invest further in GIPHY’s technology and relationships with content and API partners. People will still be able to upload GIFs. Developers and API partners will continue to have access to GIPHY’s APIs, and GIPHY’s creative community will still be able to create great content.

Those who already use Facebook or Instagram may have made use of some of GIPHY’s stickers or GIFs. It seems likely that some of GIPHY’s users went to the GIPHY website to search for GIFs to put on other social media sites.

I’m not sure how users who aren’t fans of Facebook or Instagram will take the news that Facebook acquired GIPHY. The website doesn’t make it clear that it has been acquired by Facebook, and GIPHY’s announcement was posted on Medium. It’s hard to say how much data Facebook and Instagram were gleaning from GIPHY previous to this acquisition, and that thought could make some people stop using GIPHY.


Instagram Might Let IGTV Video Makers Earn Money



TechCrunch reported that Instagram confirmed that it has internally prototyped an Instagram Partner Program that would let creators earn money by showing advertisements along with their videos. The goals seems to be to entice creators to put their videos on IGTV in the hopes of being able to earn money. It sounds like Instagram is hoping the potential for earning money might influence creators to bring more and higher quality content to Instagram.

The program could potentially work similarly to Facebook Watch, where video producers earn a 55% cut of revenue from “Ad Breaks” inserted into the middle of their content. There’s no word on what the revenue split would be for IGTV, but since Facebook tends to run all its ads across all its apps via the same buying interfaces, it might stick with the 55% approach that lets it say creators get the majority of cash earned.

I think the addition of ads, inserted into the middle of video content, could kill this project. The Coalition for Better Ads recently announced a Better Ads Standard for short-form video for desktop, mobile web, and in-app environments. The goal is to improve the online ad experience for consumers. This standard will apply to ads that appear in short-form video content that is defined as 8 minutes or less.

Three ad experiences fall beneath the Better Ads Standard for short-form video:

  •  mid-roll ads
  • pre-roll ads or pods longer than 31 seconds that cannot be skipped in the first 5 seconds
  • non-linear display ads that are in the middle 1/3 of a playing video or are larger than 20% of the video content

The Coalition’s Better Ads Standards identify the ad experiences that fall beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability and are most likely to drive consumers to install ad blockers. From this, is sounds to me like sticking an ad in the middle of a short video on IGTV will not be acceptable to most people. This could make them avoid watching videos on IGTV.

It should be noted that TechCrunch referred to this new IGTV program as something that Instagram internally prototyped. It doesn’t mean Instagram is absolutely going to release an Instagram Partner Program anytime soon.


Instagram to Expand Checking Without Removing Misinformation



Instagram is trying to step up its efforts to combat misinformation on the platform. Its newest plan is what I consider to be a good start, but still needs improvement. The plan builds upon an existing third-party fact-checker program that began in May of 2019. Instagram is now expanding their fact-checking program globally to allow fact-checking organizations around the world to assess and rate misinformation on Instagram.

When content has been rated as false or partly false by a third-party fact-checker, we reduce its distribution by removing it from Explore and hashtag pages. In addition, it will be labeled so people can better decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share. When these labels are applied, they will appear to everyone around the world viewing that content – in feed, profile, stories, and direct messages.

Instagram is also applying image matching technology to find additional instances of the same content so the label can be applied to it. One interesting thing about this new change is that content that has been rated false or partly false on Facebook, and that also appears on Instagram, will automatically be labeled.

This is a good start towards reducing the spread – and negative repercussions – of misinformation. But, I think Instagram (and Facebook) should go further.

It would be more effective if Instagram/Facebook removed the misinformation entirely. Allowing it to spread, to people who are inclined to think the warning labels are wrong, is a terrible idea. Doing so could persuade people to hold on even tighter to misinformation that happens to match their political or personal viewpoints.


Instagram will Require Birthdates from New Users



Instagram announced an update that will require new users to provide their date of birth in order to make an Instagram account. The purpose of this update is to make Instagram safer for the youngest members of the community.

Starting today, we will be asking for your date of birth when creating an account on Instagram. According to the Terms of Use, you must be at least 13 years old to have an account in most countries. Asking for this information will help prevent underage people from joining Instagram, help us keep young people safer and enable more age-appropriate experiences overall. Your birthday will not be visible to others on Instagram, but you’ll be able to see it when viewing your own private account information.

If your Facebook and Instagram are connected, Instagram will add the date of birth that is on your Facebook profile. Editing your date of birth on Facebook will also change it on Instagram. Those who don’t have Facebook accounts, or who don’t connect it to Instagram can edit their birthday directly on Instagram.

In the months ahead, Instagram will use birthday information to create tailored experiences including education about account controls and recommended privacy settings for young people. They are also going to give users more control over who can send them direct messages in Instagram.

I am in favor of making efforts to protect young people on social media. Those protections should have been there from the beginning.

My only complaint about this update is it will require new Instagram users to hand over their birthdate to both Instagram and Facebook. Think about all the important documents your birthdate is attached to. Do you trust Facebook to keep that information secure?