Instagram is working on a version of its app that would show user posts in chronological order, as the app originally did.
Per The Independent, Chief executive Adam Mosseri said that the change was coming during a Senate subcommittee where he was being examined over the protections Instagram provides to young users.
Mosseri said that Instagram was “currently working on a version of a chronological feed that we hope to launch next year,” adding that it had been in development “for months.” There will also be an option to add a “favorites” feed, which will prioritize friends’ posts higher than other content. Both feeds will, reportedly, be optional.
We want to be clear that we’re creating new options — providing people with more choices so they can decide what works best for them — not switching everyone back to a chronological feed. You can expect more on this early next year!— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) December 8, 2021
Meta, and its subsidiaries Facebook and Instagram, have been historically against chronological feeds. In a blog post in June, Mosseri said a chronological feed made it “impossible for most people to see everything, let alone all the posts they cared about.”
Concerns for younger users were emphasized recently by the revelations of whistleblower Frances Haugen, who provided a trove of documents to a number of media organizations alleging that Instagram was harmful to the mental health and self-esteem of teenage girls and that Facebook (now Meta) had a VIP list that allowed high-profile users to break its rules.
“The thing I saw at Facebook over and over again was there were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook,” Haugen has said. “Facebook, over and over again, chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money.”
“One of the biggest issues social networks face is that, when left unchecked, people will engage disproportionately with more sensationalist and provocative content”, Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post in 2018. “At scale it can undermine the quality of public discourse and lead to polarization. In our case, it can also degrade the quality of our services. Our research suggests that no matter where we draw the lines for what is allowed, as a piece of content gets close to that line, people will engage with it more on average – even when they tell us afterwards they don’t like the content.”