Instagram is testing a new feature that would give users greater control over what they see on the social network as the platform seeks to improve user experience.
The new feature comes in the form of an “Interested” button which users can select when they see recommended posts, informing the app of their interest in seeing similar types of content going forward, the company said in a Wednesday blog post.
The option sits alongside existing personalization controls, such as the “Not Interested” option on suggested posts and the ability to snooze recommendations.
On top of this, Instagram is also experimenting with new transparency notifications to help creators recognize when the reach of their content is limited due to a watermark, making it easier for creators to identify why certain Reels may not be getting distributed to non-followers.
While Instagram has not specified which watermarks it is referring to, it is likely referencing the multitude of TikTok content that is reposted as Reels on its platform.
Instagram Addresses Concerns Regarding Shadowbanning
In the post, Instagram also addressed the issue of “shadowbanning,” a term used to imply that a user’s content is being hidden without a clear explanation.
“Contrary to what you might have heard, it’s in our interest as a business to ensure that creators are able to reach their audiences and get discovered so they can continue to grow and thrive on Instagram…we don’t suppress content to encourage people to buy ads,” the company wrote, adding:
“It’s a better business to make Instagram more engaging overall by growing reach for those who create the most engaging content, and sell ads to others.”
The social media giant added that users’ concerns regarding shadowbanning indicated that Instagram needs to do more to help people understand what’s going on with their account.
As part of this, the company expanded its Account Status hub last December to make it easier for businesses and creators to understand whether their content is eligible to be recommended to non-followers, and whether their content is compliant with the company’s recommendations guidelines.
Instagram also said it plans to add more transparency tools to Account Status in the future.
Instagram Reveals How Content is Ranked in Different Parts of its App
The blog post also went into detail about how content is ranked in different parts of the app.
The ranking process for a user’s Feed is based on their activity, such as the number of posts they have liked, shared, saved, or commented on, as well as how popular a post is and how interesting the person who posted it might be.
Stories are ranked based on how often users view an account’s Stories and how frequently they engage with them, such as by sending a like or direct message.
Furthermore, the app considers the user’s relationship with the account overall and how likely they are to be connected as friends or family.
Similarly, the Explore page is ranked according to factors such as post popularity, the types of posts users interact with, and their interactions with the person who posted the content.
Reels are ranked according to factors such as the number of Reels a user has liked and saved, the Reel’s popularity, and whether or not the user has interacted with the account.
All in all, by giving users greater control over the content they see and being more transparent about how the app’s algorithms work, Instagram hopes to make the app more valuable and engaging for users.
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