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Instagram’s Updating its Ranking Algorithm to Put More Focus on Original Content

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Instagram's Updating its Ranking Algorithm to Put More Focus on Original Content


This could cause some headaches for social media managers and content creators on Instagram, at least in the initial stages of implementation.

Today, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has announced that Instagram is making update to the way that it ranks content, in order to put more focus on original work.

As per Mosseri:

“If you create something from scratch, you should get more credit than if you are resharing something that you found from someone else. [As such] we’re going to do more to try and value original content more, particularly compared to reposted content.”

So what does that mean, exactly?

Does that mean that if you post content from other platforms that you’ll cop a reach penalty on IG?

Does that mean that if a bigger profile re-posts your original content, that you could be penalized as a result?

It’s kind of complex, and Mosseri didn’t seem entirely confident that Instagram would be able to get it right.

In response to various questions on Twitter, Mosseri explained that:

  • Content edited outside of Instagram, then uploaded to the app, won’t be penalized under this change. As per Mosseri: “The idea is if you made it, it’s original. It’s okay if you edited it outside of Instagram and then bring it in via the gallery.” As you may recall, Instagram announced last year that content re-shared from other apps which included visible watermarks would be downranked, which was specifically focused on re-shares of TikTok content to Reels. Content with visible logos or watermarks will still be penalized under that policy, in Reels at least, but outside of that, the change is not designed to stop people sharing content edited outside of IG itself.
  • Posting history is a factor. Mosseri notes that content aggregators are the focus of this update, and Instagram will be able to refer to an account’s posting history as one way of determining this. “If the account is an aggregator, we’ll more likely be able to detect that it’s not original.” So if you’re re-posting a lot of stuff from other accounts, you’ll likely see a reach decline. Posting trending memes has been a simple way to boost engagement up till now, but maybe, that will no longer be the case.
  • Instagram’s original content ranking is a work in progress. Mosseri admits that Instagram can’t know for sure if content is original or not. “We build classifiers to predict how *likely* something is to be original, but that’s not knowing. We look at things like who’s in the video, and if we’ve seen the video before.” So maybe, if you’re sharing content from other sources, there’ll be different people in all of your uploads, and that could be a signal, while Instagram’s algorithm will also look for replicated posts. How will Instagram know which account is the originator, and which is the replicator? Time posted could be one factor, but Mosseri notes that “if it’s someone pretending to be the original creator, which is less likely but could happen, it’ll be hard for us to know.”

In essence, the aim is to reduce the dominance of aggregator sites, and give more credit to original creators. That, ideally, will see fewer content farms or re-posters dominating the Explore feed, while Instagram is also now pushing more recommended posts into your main feed also, and these too should be more original moving forward.

But the system is not perfect, and no doubt some accounts will suffer unjust penalties as a result. But again, Mosseri notes that Instagram will continue to evolve its detection processes over time to better determine where content comes from, and who posted the original, in order to help amplify the true creators, as opposed to letting bigger, farm accounts take all of the engagement.

It could have a big impact, considering the amount of aggregator accounts in the app, or it could be minimal. It’s hard to say right now, but the basic principle will be to continue posting original content to the app – and if you are re-posting, maybe it’s time to lessen your reliance on that content.

For brands, that could also have implications for UGC, and re-using customer posts and updates, if they’re also posting them on their own profiles. UGC can be a great social proof option, and a good way to engage with your community, and really, it will come down to measuring the impacts of the change versus the benefits of posting.

As always, it’s all about experimentation, and seeing how the update shifts the needle in the app over time.





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Parler Announces That it’s Terminated its Acquisition Deal with Kanye West

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Kanye West is Buying Conservative Social Media Platform Parler to Voice His Unfiltered Opinions

Kanye West will not follow in Elon Musk’s footsteps and buy his own social media platform, with Parler confirming today that it has ended negotiations with West on a possible sale of the app.

The reasoning behind the decision is not clear, but West has continued to share his controversial opinions in various media opportunities of late, which has resulted in him losing a range of sponsor and partnership deals, and has decimated his net worth.

Axios has reported that West’s financial situation, as a result of these impacts, has played at least some role in the dissolution of the Parler deal.

West originally announced his intention to acquire Parler back in October, saying at the time that he needed to buy his own platform in order to share his unfiltered opinions with the world.

People had talked about it and mentioned this idea for years, but enough was enough.”

In the weeks leading up to that announcement, West had been suspended from both Instagram and Twitter after deliberately pushing his limits on both by sharing offensive, anti-Semitic remarks. That then led West to Parler, and with Elon Musk moving to take over at Twitter, West saw an opportunity to also play a part in what he saw as a broader shift towards allowing more free and open speech.

But now, West is moving on – though he will continue with his 2024 Presidential run, apparently.

West has also seemingly pinned his hopes on Musk for a future reformation of social media moderation rules.

At least, I think that’s what this means.

The announcement leaves Parler in a less than certain predicament, as it continues its efforts to develop a more sustainable business model in order to maintain operation as a free speech platform.

In the wake of the Capitol Riots, Parler was almost killed off entirely when both Apple and Google removed the app from their respective stores due its lax moderation policies, which they said had allowed too many posts that encouraged violence and crime. Amazon then also refused to host Parler on its web-hosting service due to repeated violations of its rules.

Parler was eventually able to save itself by rolling out additional moderation rules, in alignment with the requirements of each platform, which subsequently caused a level of angst among its core user base. Parler has since been found to be censoring certain posts, and removing certain users, which has prompted further criticism of the app, and with Elon taking over at Twitter, and promising a more open approach to what can be shared via tweet, it seems like Parler’s days could indeed be numbered, especially if Musk is able to implement a significant change in Twitter’s approach.

Which will also be challenging. Just as Parler had to change its moderation approach in line with app store policies, Twitter will also have to maintain its processes on the same, which could impede Musk’s push to enable more free and open speech in the app.

Elon’s looking to challenge this, but again, there will always be a level of moderation required, which will likely always exceed what free speech advocates would prefer, given evolving rules in Europe and other regions.

And for Kanye, it seems like his ambitions for owning his own social platform are now shelved, at least for the time being.



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