Instagram has officially announced the work of its algorithms.

The head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, publicly confessed that the social network does not properly explain the principles of sorting posts and stories. And shed some light on the real mechanics under the hood of Instagram.

According to Adam, “Instagram doesn’t have one algorithm that oversees what people do and don’t see on the app. We use a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its own purpose. We want to make the most of your time, and we believe that using technology to personalize your experience is the best way to do that”.

Each part of the app – Feed, Explore, Reels – uses its own algorithm tailored to how people use it. People tend to look for their closest friends in Stories, but they want to discover something entirely new in Explore. Instagram ranks things differently in different parts of the app, based on how people use them.

Here is the most interesting of what he said:

  1. The myth about "shadowban" is explained by the fact that "the majority of subscribers do not see what you publish, because the majority view less than half of their feed."
  2. There are a few cases where we try to take other considerations into account. For example, Stories that were “reshared” from Feed: until recently, we valued these Stories less, because we’ve heard consistently that people are more interested in seeing original Stories. But we see a swell of reshared posts in big moments – everything from the World Cup to social unrest – and in these moments people were expecting their Stories to reach more people than they did, so we stopped.
  3. Another important case to call out is misinformation. If you post something that third-party fact checkers label as misinformation, we don’t take it down, but we do apply a label and show the post lower in Feed and Stories. If you’ve posted misinformation multiple times, we may make all of your content harder to find.
  4. In addition to our Community Guidelines, we have rules for what we recommend in places like Explore. We call these our Recommendations Guidelines. These include things like avoiding potentially upsetting or sensitive posts, for example, we aim to not show content that promotes tobacco or vaping use in Explore.
  5. With Reels, though, we’re specifically focused on what might entertain you with an eye towards smaller creators.

Factors that will help you influence the content you want or don’t want to see (some of them are not entirely new to you though):

  • In Feed, the five interactions Instagram looks at most closely are how likely you are to spend a few seconds on a post, comment on it, like it, save it, and tap on the profile photo.
  • Not just share, communicate with everyone. The more interactions you had with other people in the last month, the more you are shown to everyone else.
  • History of interactions between the author and a specific reader. If you do not comment on each other, the algorithm "moves" you away from each other.
  • Similarity of interests of the audience and the influencer. Example: if you don't really like fashion content, then posts of different fashion bloggers will no longer be actively shown to you.
  • The time you hover over stories. The longer you're looking at someone's stories, the more often you will see the new ones.
  • Saved posts: save a creator's posts if you want to see them again in your feed.
  • You are more likely to see those who have been added to the green Close Friends circle. And not only stories but also posts.
  • Location tags are important. Instagram first revealed what exactly it counts for ranking posts. It can be assumed that the closer your geolocation is to your audience, the more often they will see your content.
  • Mute accounts you’re not interested in. Users won’t know you've muted them.
  • Mark recommended posts as “Not Interested.” Whenever you see a recommendation, whether it’s in Explore or in Feed, you can indicate you are “not interested” in that post.