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Instagram Launches Initial Test of Algorithm-Free, Reverse Chronological Feed Options In-Stream

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Instagram Launches Initial Test of Algorithm-Free, Reverse Chronological Feed Options In-Stream


Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

After announcing the return of its reverse chronological, algorithm-free post feed late last year, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has today shared a preview of how its new options on this front will work.

Honestly, the way he says ‘it’s important to me…’ freaks me out a little bit.

As you can see in the video, Instagram’s looking to add two different chronological feed options, in ‘Favorites’, which would enable you to view a listing of accounts based on those you add to your ‘Favorites’ list, and ‘Following’, which will display the accounts that you follow, free from additional recommendations, in reverse timeline order.

The latter is particularly important, because as Mosseri notes, your algorithm-defined ‘Home’ feed is going to feature ‘more and more recommendations over time’, as Instagram looks to boost content discovery, and get people spending more time, and money, in the app.

So that’s good, right? You’ll soon have the option to view your posts in reverse chronological order once again, with an easy switch to toggle between the different feeds. That’s what users have been asking for for years, right?

Well, kind of.

The problem with Instagram’s solution, which has been in testing since early December, is that you won’t be able to make your preference the default option, which means that if you’d like to see your feed in reverse chronological order, you’ll have to manually switch over to your ‘Favorites’ or ‘Following’ feed every time you use the app.

Instagram feed toggle

Now, that’s not a massive imposition – tapping on an extra feed toggle is pretty easy, and it will give you simple access to an algorithm-free Instagram experience if you want it. But at the same time, Instagram also knows that most people simply won’t bother, which, in some ways, makes it a win-win for the platform, in that it gets the positive user PR of providing these alternative feed tools, while also not seeing any significant impacts on overall engagement, because most people will just keep using the algorithm-defined feed as they always have.

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How can Instagram be confident of such? Because Facebook also provides the same option, with the capacity to switch your Facebook News Feed back to reverse chronological order, just like it was back in the days of poking and sharing how you’re feeling in your updates.

Facebook rolled out its now infamous News Feed algorithm back in 2012, and ever since, users have pushed for an option to switch the algorithm off, and give them more control over their experience. Facebook’s tested various ways to provide this, with the capacity to switch to a ‘Recent’ feed always in your settings, while Facebook has also been testing ways to make this more up-front, including this test in 2020.

Facebook News Feed sorting

Look familiar?

Yes, Facebook already provides the exact options that Instagram is now proposing, with News Feed sorting via ‘Favorites’, based on the people and profiles you choose, and ‘Recent’, which, much like Instagram’s ‘Following’ list, displays the latest posts from those you follow.

Some users have access to these options upfront, others need to dig a little in their settings. But even if you do have access, you’re probably not using them, because while you might like to see your feed in reverse chronological order, you’re not going to manually select the display option every time you log in. Right?

Facebook knows this, and Instagram does too. So while it’s good that Instagram is looking to provide more options, and it’ll no doubt work to reduce user complaints about lack of control, as these options will be readily available, in reality, not many people are going to use them.

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So it’s not exactly a return to the Instagram of old, and a means to eliminate the algorithm altogether. Social platforms have all seen significant engagement increases due to algorithmic sorting, and highlighting content of interest to each individual user – and as such, they’re not about to let you just turn them off so easy, and lose all of those gains.

As Mosseri notes, most people don’t get through all the posts in their main feed anyway, and if you do switch away from the ‘Home’ feed display, you could well end up missing important updates. That’ll give further credence to its preferred, algorithm-defined approach, which will see even more users forget that these options exist.

In essence, it’s more of a placating move than one focused on utility, a way for Instagram to get some of the more vocal critics of its algorithmic approach to calm down, while still gleaning optimal benefits.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it may well be that the algorithm feed is better, even if users don’t think it is. But it is worth clarifying that this is not the return to user control that Instagram will be touting, even if it does provide more options.

Mosseri says that the new feed options are now in testing, with a view to a full rollout ‘in the first half of this year’.





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TikTok’s Working on a New, Opt-In Function to Show You Who Viewed Your Profile

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TikTok's Working on a New, Opt-In Function to Show You Who Viewed Your Profile


I’m not entirely sure what value this might bring, but TikTok is reportedly working on bringing back the option to see who viewed your profile in the app over the preceding 30 days, which would provide more transparency over user interest.

As you can see in these screenshots, uncovered by app researcher Kev Adriano (and shared by Matt Navarra), TikTok looks to be testing an opt-in functionality that would enable you to see who’s checking out your TikTok profile, while users would also be able to see when you’ve checked out their profile as well when this feature is switched on.

Which TikTok used to have, as a means to increase connections in the app.

TikTok profile views notification

As you can see here, TikTok used to provide a listing of people who’d checked out your profile, with a view to helping you find others to follow who may have similar, shared interests. TikTok removed the functionality early last year, amid various investigations into its data sharing processes, and with several high-profile cases of TikTok stalkers causing real-world problems for platform stars, it made sense that it might not want to share this information anymore, as it likely only increases anxiety for those who may have concerns.

But I guess, if stalkers wanted to check out your profile they wouldn’t turn the feature on, so maybe, by making it opt-in, that reduces that element? Maybe.

I don’t know, I don’t see a heap of value here, and while I can understand, when an app is starting out, how this sort of awareness might help to increase network connections, I’m not sure that it serves any real value for TikTok, other than providing insight into who’s poking around, and likely increasing concerns about certain people who keep coming back to check out your profile again and again.

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Maybe there’s a value for aspiring influencers, in reaching out to potential collaborators who’ve checked out their stuff, or maybe it works for hook-ups, if that’s what you want to use TikTok for, which is why the opt-in element is important.

But much like the same feature on LinkedIn, mostly, it seems pretty useless. I mean, it’s somewhat interesting to know that somebody from a company that you’d like to work for checked out your profile, but if they did, and they didn’t feel compelled to get in touch, who really cares?

There is a limited value proposition here, in that getting in touch with those who did check out your profile could result in a business relationship, similar to the above note on potential collaborators on TikTok. But I’d be interested to see the actual percentage of successful contacts made is as a result of these insights.

I can’t imagine it’s very high – but maybe, if you give users the choice, and they explicitly opt-in, there is some value there.

Seems like stalker tracking to me, and potential angst and conflict as a result.

There’s no official word from TikTok as to whether this option will ever be released at this stage.





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‘Flurona’ is a great example of how misinformation can circulate

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'Flurona' is a great example of how misinformation can circulate


This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like. Image captured and colorized at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana.
Source – NIAID, CC SA 2.0.

In early January, Israel confirmed its first case of an individual infected with both the seasonal flu and COVID-19 at the same time, authorities reported. The two infections were found in an unvaccinated pregnant woman who had mild symptoms.

At the rime, the Times of Israel said, “Some reports suggested this marked the first such dual case in the world, but reports of patients with both flu and COVID-19 surfaced in the US as early as spring 2020.”

And it was the Times of Israel that helped the story to go viral by using a catchy, made-up name – “flurona” – and reporting that this is the “first” such case in the country, which some people read as the first case ever.

One news outlet went about amplifying the anecdotal report into “a new nightmare to keep us awake at night.” All the hype over this supposedly new and nightmarish disease did nothing more than fuel the amount of misinformation already bogging down social media platforms.

Scientific American suggests that physicians and scientists just don’t seem to be able to get the right message across to the public about what is real, what is treatable, and what is downright false.

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Yes, you can catch the flu and Covid

Let’s look back a bit to the start of the pandemic. In March 2020, hospitals were being overrun with patients. At that time, COVID testing was still rather sluggish and expensive. So doctors often ordered several tests for patients, trying to identify — or eliminate from suspicion — other possible infections.   

And yes, any number of patients were found to have not only COVID-19 but nearly 5 percent of patients tested had another viral respiratory infection, too. At first, doctors worried more for these patients, whose immune systems were fighting two battles at once. 

“What we found was actually that patients who had Covid plus another infection — they had lower rates of inflammation in their body and were less likely to be admitted to the hospital,” said Dr. Sarah Baron, a physician who helped author a study in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy to describe the findings.

While the study was small in the number of patients involved, it may offer an intriguing look at how one virus suppresses the effects of another – something called viral interference.

Researchers have known about viral interference since the 1960s when a group of scientists noticed that a live vaccine against polio and other enteroviruses also seemed to protect against unrelated viral respiratory diseases like influenza.  

For the week ending December 25, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 6.2 percent of people tested for flu were positive, and 1,825 people were admitted to U.S. hospitals with flu that week.

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So I would suggest to everyone that first – remember there are many reliable news sources on the Internet. Secondly, if a story you read sounds outrageous, take a few minutes to research it. You may just find out how inaccurate it may be.



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12 Helpful SEO Tools for Your Brand in 2022 [Infographic]

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12 Helpful SEO Tools for Your Brand in 2022 [Infographic]


Search engine optimization can be a complicated process, but every year, more tools and options are added to help simplify and streamline your efforts, which can provide you with valuable insights and guidance that hasn’t previously been available so easily.

The right tools can transform your strategy, and as such, it’s worth keeping track of the latest tool additions as you look to learn more about what people are searching for, and how you can create content and offers to align with those behaviors.

Which is where this new listing from PageTraffic comes in. The below infographic outlines 12 newer SEO tools that are worth a look in 2022.

More insight is always better, and these apps may just become a key pipeline to better understanding for your business.



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