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Facebook might be a mess, but at least Instagram is listening to its users

Reuters/Charles Platiau
Instagram isn’t safe either.
  • Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

One of the most common complaints Instagram users have had over the last two years is being rectified—sort of.

Instagram announced two changes today, March 22, based on user feedback. In 2016, it changed the structure of its app so that the posts on users’ feeds were no longer in chronological order—they would now be shown in an order that an Instagram algorithm deemed best. Many users didn’t like the change, missed posts from friends, or saw them far too late. Instagram will now tweak its much-maligned algorithm to show more new posts at the top of users’ feeds first, instead of days-old posts that feel like seeing Christmas presents on Dec. 30.

It’s also testing a new button that lets the user decide when to refresh their feed. Currently, when you tap into a post or other sections of the app, it’s possible that you’ll be kicked to the top of your feed, missing all the posts between where you were and where Instagram has refreshed you to.  In theory, this should mean that users miss fewer posts from the accounts that they follow.

Instagram isn’t, however, returning to a completely chronological feed, however much people (like me) clamor for it.

Regardless, it’s likely that this news will be received positively by many Instagram users, which will be a welcome reprise for its parent company, Facebook, which is currently dealing with one of the biggest scandals in its 14-year history.

Facebook’s stock price has been plummeting and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is being called to appear before multiple countries’ political bodies after last week’s reports that Cambridge Analytica, the data firm hired by the Donald Trump campaign in the 2016 US election, had access to 50 million Facebook users’ data without their consent. Zuckerberg had been silent on the issue until last night, when he appeared on CNN and posted on Facebook to (sort of) apologize.

Myriad thinkpieces and twitter threads have been spun around whether now is the time to reevaluate our relationship with the world’s largest social network. But it seems Facebook is hoping the 800-million-odd users it has on Instagram might be appeased by seeing photos of elaborate milkshakes and unicorn grilled cheeses in the order in which they were taken.

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