Despite rumors, Instagram isn’t going back to a chronological feed

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The Instagram community is buzzing with the possibility of the news feed reverting back to chronological order after one user posted a video scrolling through a chronologically ordered news feed — but Instagram says the current presentation isn’t going anywhere.

Photographer Jack Harding (@JackHarding) shared a video in his Instagram Story showing nine posts in the feed, chronologically ordered. The video — and the possibility of going back to chronological order — created a buzz, with several users and publications discussing the possibility.

In a comment to Digital Trends, however, an Instagram representative said that the company is not going back to a chronological feed. The company also said that the feature also isn’t being tested. Occasionally, some users will spot a new feature because they are part of an early group involved in testing, but according to Instagram, that isn’t the case here.

Instagram’s algorithms use several factors in determining which posts to show first, including the engagement or the number of likes and comments the post receives. But timeliness is also included among those factors, as Instagram said in the original blog post announcing the change to a non-chronological feed, which means that the time the post was shared is still a factor in how the posts are displayed.

A quick scroll through my Instagram after not logging on for a few days had around five posts that appeared to be chronologically ordered before the time stamp on the posts appeared to jump back and forth.

Instagram’s algorithm, which includes when the post was shared, occasionally make posts appear to be ordered chronologically. The time spent in the news feed could also play a factor — since Instagram algorithms avoid showing the same post twice, users frequently checking their feed could have fewer posts for that algorithm to work with.

While Instagram’s chronological news feed change back in 2016 was met with mixed reactions, Instagram said it made the decision to adjust the news feed because around 70 percent of posts were going unseen in the chronological format. Timelines created by algorithms rather than time stamps are now the more popular option among the biggest social networks. Besides Facebook and Instagram, Twitter also uses algorithmic timelines, but users also have the option to still switch back to chronological order.

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