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Instagram has shed some light on how it decides what goes in your feed

The process of designing your Instagram feed is very complex.

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Image: KnowTechie

A new blog post from Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has explained a bit about how the platform displays your feed. Mosseri shared this first in a series of blog posts to better explain the inner workings of the Instagram platform.

Instagram has its hands very full when it comes to displaying the right things on your feed. Many people think that one single algorithm is used and adjusted over time to better display your feed. But that’s not the case.

According to the post from the social platform’s leader, Instagram uses “a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its own purpose” to give its users relevant content. A very complex set of “signals” are analyzed to perfect each person’s individual feed.

The company’s algorithms analyze “thousands” of these signals to determine what kind of posts you’ll see. Mosseri highlighted the four most important signals considered when compiling your new feed:

Top signals that determine what you see in your Instagram feed

Information about the post. These are signals both about how popular a post is – think how many people have liked it – and more mundane information about the content itself, like when it was posted, how long it is if it’s a video, and what location, if any, was attached to it.

Information about the person who posted. This helps us get a sense for how interesting the person might be to you, and includes signals like how many times people have interacted with that person in the past few weeks.

Your activity. This helps us understand what you might be interested in and includes signals such as how many posts you’ve liked.

Your history of interacting with someone. This gives us a sense of how interested you are generally in seeing posts from a particular person. An example is whether or not you comment on each other’s posts.

Mosseri also addressed the issue around the company’s so-called “shadowbanning” of its users. Shadowbanning is a term that claims Instagram hides or takes down some users’ posts intentionally.

Mosser explained that not all posts are going to get the same traction. This is because most people look at less than 50% of their feed. He did say, however, that the company can and will become more transparent about why certain content is removed from the platform.

This is just the first of many planned blog posts from Mosseri and the Instagram team. The company seems serious about increasing transparency between itself and its users.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at

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