Instagram, sensational decision: you go back 6 years

From next year on Instagram will come a new feed: it is the result of heavy pressure received by the social platform after the revelations of the mole Frances Haugen

From next year Instagram goes back 6 years: this is, in a nutshell, the decision taken by the platform of the Meta-Facebook group to respond to the increasingly pressing criticism raining down on it from many sides because of its algorithm that, detractors say, would favor the visibility of "toxic" and dangerous content for teenagers.

The response of Instagram is dry: from 2022 those who want can return to the old chronological feed, the one in which new content is gradually undermining the old without any algorithm to tell what users should see. That is, the classic feed, the only one available until 2016 when, suddenly and not without controversy, Instagram introduced the feed based on algorithms and abandoned the chronological one. At the time, there was a lot of discussion about this change, which was considered penalizing for creators who didn't have money to invest in advertising.

Why Instagram is changing the feed

The news of the return of the old chronological feed was reported by The Verge, which in turn reports the words spoken by the head of Instagram Adam Mosseri during a hearing in the U.S. Senate. Mosseri was in fact called by a committee of the U.S. Senate that is investigating what was said by the famous "mole" Frances Haugen.

"We are working on a chronological version of the feed, which we hope to launch next year," Mosseri told the senators making it clear that the current feed will remain, but there will be an option to choose the chronological one. What Mosseri didn't specify, however, is when Instagram's chronological feed will return and whether it will be identical to 2016's.

Instagram: algorithm or chronological?

When it was born, in 2010, Instagram from the beginning sorted the content shown to users on a purely chronological basis: as followed users posted new content, it pushed down previous content.

Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, for $1 billion, and for a long time did not touch the feed. It did as of April 2016, replacing it with a feed based on an algorithm that selects content to show based on its success and affinity between the content and the user's tastes. In 2017, it refined the algorithm further, introducing the recommended content section.

The shift from the chronological feed to the algorithmic feed has had two main effects: the rise of influencers on the platform and the increasing virality of content that is particularly divisive and, as many believe (but Instagram denies it) tends to be dangerous for teens.

It's no coincidence, moreover, that Instagram initially became the home of "body shaming," that is, that form of bullying that targets the "less than perfect" body shapes of users (particularly teenage girls) who post their photos on the social. But, it must also be said, the same Instagram has since become the home of the fight against the same body shaming.