Instagram shuffles hashtag content in a new test that removes its ‘recent’ tab

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new test from Instagram could make it harder for you to see recent content in the app. Though you can now look up all sorts of recent Instagram posts centered around a particular hashtag, the test will only let you see the posts with the most likes or short videos called “Reels” related to the hashtag. The company says this trial will mix “more recent and timely content” in the two groups to see how people engage with it.

When they were first introduced on Instagram, hashtags could be a fun way to highlight photo trends, but now they are mainly a way for users to get more visibility and, hence, more clicks and likes. According to Instagram, the “Top,” or top posts tab, shows popular posts while the “Recent” tab shows content in the order it was posted, regardless of how many likes it

Social media apps continue to rely on algorithms to show users more varied (and more marketable) content despite negative reactions from users who prefer seeing their timelines in chronological order. With apps like TikTok siphoning away users and attention — even becoming more popular than YouTube for Android users — Instagram has been rolling out (or in this case, taking away) features to try to make Reels a natural alternative to viewing photos.

Figuring out ways for users to interact with more system-sorted content has influenced changes in other platforms as well. Last month, Twitter made it harder to view things in order by defaulting users to an algorithmic timeline, but it reversed that change after a few days.

If and when it’s released more widely, it will be interesting to see how this change affects what kinds of content users see on Instagram

Instagram’s home feed ranking algorithm is receiving an update that’s designed to boost the visibility of original content.

Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, announced the ranking change is one component of a larger effort to reward originality and give credit where it’s due.

Mosseri states:

“People expressing themselves is the heartbeat of Instagram. It’s what makes Instagram work. I’ve talked a lot this year about how creators are incredibly important to Instagram’s future. And one of the things I’ve learned from speaking with creators is how important getting credit for their work is to them. So today, a few hidden gems, a few way’s we’re going to make sure that credit is going to those who deserve it.”

He goes on to discuss three updates intended to help credit creators for their work:

  • Home feed ranking change
  • Product tags
  • Enhanced people tags

Here’s more about each of the changes rolling out.

Instagram Ranking Update

Without revealing too many details, Mosseri says Instagram’s ranking algorithm will now assign more value to original content.

That means content someone creates and publishes themselves is likely to be more visible on Instagram than republished content.

Mosseri explains:

“I know a lot of you are skeptical of ranking, but it really does help us make sure that Instagram is more valuable to each and every person who uses the platform. This [update] is specifically focused on this idea of originality.

If you create something from scratch you should get more credit than if you are sharing something that you found from someone else. We’re going to do more to try and value original content more, particularly compared to reposted content.”

Short on specifics, this announcement immediately calls to mind several questions. One of them being: Does the content have to be original to Instagram?

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