Earlier this week, some Instagram users discovered that their timelines were no longer chronological — a development which has been in the works for a while, although with few details available. Was it a sign that the big change had finally come? As it turns out, no — which, in turn, led many to ask, when is the Instagram feed changing for everyone? Unfortunately we still don’t have a whole lot of answers, but let’s use this moment as an opportunity to take stock of what’s happened so far. Update: On June 2, Instagram announced in a blog post that the Instagram feed change will be rolling out across the entire platform over the course of the month.
First things first: What the heck's been going on with our photo feeds this week? An Instagram representative confirmed to Bustle on Wednesday that the algorithmic feed has, in fact, begun testing with a small percentage of users; however, no specific date for a platform-wide rollout has yet been confirmed. The representative also noted that Instagram will let us all know when the feature is set to debut for all users — so basically, the answer to the question, “When will it change for everyone?” is, “We still don’t know, but they’ll tell us when it’s time.”
The original announcement of the algorithmic timeline came out just shy of two months ago; those two months have been pretty action-packed, though, so for the curious, here’s the saga of the non-chronological Instagram feed so far.
March 15, 2016:
Instagram announces that an algorithmic, non-chronological timeline is in the works. The idea, according to a blog post from the social networking app, is for “the order of photos and videos in your feed… [to] be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post.” Nothing will be disappearing; as the blog post states, “all the posts will still be there, just in a different order.” The feature is intended to be rolled out over the course of several months.
March 28, 2016:
Instagram users wake up to find a whole bunch of posts on their favorite accounts instructing them to turn on notifications RIGHT THAT MINUTE, or else risk missing all their favorite content because of the new algorithmic timeline. Everyone panics.
However, as Eva Chen notes, the panic is unfounded: In response to a fan commenting on one of her posts, “Hey, is it true about the Instagram notifications?”, she replies, “Thanks for asking! No sigh it’s not true. Look at your feed today. Is it still chronological? Yep it is!” Instagram also confirms to Bustle that the algorithmic feed is being tested, but not rolled out across the entire platform yet. Even so, we all take a moment to learn how to turn notifications on and off, because it always pays to be prepared.
March 29, 2016:
The logout option mysteriously vanishes from the Instagram app, leaving users to wonder whether it’s connected to the algorithmic timeline. It’s not; Instagram confirms that it’s a glitch. A fix arrives shortly thereafter, restoring the logout option to app users.
May 4, 2016:
After all being quiet for about a month, some users begin noticing that their timeline isn’t displaying chronologically anymore. Bustle TV Editor Sam Rullo is one of these users, so thanks to her, those of us at Bustle HQ were able to witness the change in action. It’s worth noting that some users observed their feeds switching back and forth between a chronological view and a non-chronological one, leaving many wondering whether the algorithm had arrived, or whether it was just a glitch; the answer to this question remains unclear, although Instagram did confirm to Bustle that the algorithm is currently being tested for a small number of users.
And that’s where we’re at right now. As to when we can expect the algorithm’s rollout across the entire platform? Well, we’ll just have to keep waiting and seeing. Rest assured, though, that Instagram will definitely let us know when it happens.
Images: Giphy (4)