Instagram announced today it’s testing a new feature that gives users more control over what they see on the social network, along with a new transparency tool for creators. Now when users see featured posts, they can select a new “Interested” button that lets the app know they’d like to see more of that kind of content. The new control joins Instagram’s current personalization controls, including the “Not interested” option on suggested posts and the ability to snooze recommendations.
The company is also experimenting with new transparency notifications to help creators understand when the reach of their content, such as Reels, may be limited due to a watermark. Instagram says the new feature will help creators understand why certain roles aren’t distributed to non-followers. While Instagram hasn’t said what types of watermarks it’s referring to, the company is likely referring to the plethora of TikTok content being reposted as Reels on its platform.
The new features were announced in a new one blog post published by Instagram head Adam Mosseri regarding transparency surrounding the app’s algorithms and ranking processes. In the post, Mosseri addresses shadow banning, a term used to indicate hiding content from a user without a clear explanation.
“Contrary to what you may have heard, it is in our best interest as a company to ensure that creators can reach their audiences and get discovered so they can continue to grow and thrive on Instagram,” Mosseri wrote. “If there is an audience that is interested in what you share, the more effectively we help that audience see your content, the more they will use our platform. While we’ve heard that some people think you have to pay for ads to get more reach, we don’t suppress content to encourage people to buy ads. It’s a better thing to make Instagram more appealing overall by extending reach to those who create the most compelling content and sell ads to others.
Mosseri says users’ concerns about shadow banning indicate Instagram needs to do more to help people understand what’s happening with their accounts. Last December, the company expanded its account status hub to make it easier for businesses and creators to understand whether their content is eligible to be recommended to non-followers on places like Explore, Reels, and Feed Recommendations or whether their content is in conflicts with company guidelines. Recommendations Guidelines. Mosseri says Instagram plans to add more transparency tools to Account Status in the future.
The new blog post goes into detail about how content is arranged in different parts of the app. The app ranks your feed based on your activity, such as the posts you’ve liked, shared, saved, or commented on. Ranking also affects how popular a post is and how interesting the person who posted it is to you.
Stories are ranked based on how often you view an account’s Stories and how often you engage with that account’s Stories, such as sending a like or a DM. In addition, the app looks at your relationship with the account in general and how likely you are to be connected as friends or family.
The Explore page is ranked based on things like how popular a post appears to be, the types of posts you’ve commented on, and your interactions with the person who posted the content. Reels are ranked based on factors such as the Reels you liked and saved, the popularity of the Reel, if you interacted with the account.
Instagram announced a change to its ranking system last year to prioritize distribution of original content, rather than reposted content, in places like the Reels tab and feed. The change appears to be paying off as Meta recently revealed that time spent on Instagram has increased by more than 24% since the company launched Reels on the platform thanks to AI-powered content recommendations.