An algorithmic feed that has been annoying millions of Instagram users might soon be replaced with content offered up in the traditional chronological order, the platform’s CEO has announced.
One of the world’s most popular photo and video sharing apps is actively working “on a version of a chronological feed,” Instagram’s top executive Adam Mosseri testified before a US Senate panel on Wednesday.
While he gave no specific date, Mosseri said his company was “targeting the first quarter of next year” for the launch of the basic feed, which has been sought after by many users for years. The hearing before the Senate’s Consumer Protection Subcommittee was initiated to examine Instagram’s safety, particularly for teenagers and children.
In 2016, Instagram swapped its original chronological feed with a controversial ranking algorithm, which it said offered users content based on their in-app activity and preferences. Despite uproar from some users, Instagram defended the move at the time, saying it would help ensure people didn’t miss important things amidst an avalanche of posts – but complaints persisted that the platform was forcing people to see what its AI prioritized.
During his testimony to lawmakers, Mosseri was asked whether he agreed that users should be able to use the app without “being manipulated by algorithms.” He then promised the chronological feed option was in the works, saying the company believes users should have “more control.”
Instagram and its parent company, Meta (previously called Facebook), have long been accused of being harmful to their young users, particularly in regard to their addictive nature, as well as online bullying and harassment.
Earlier this year, a former Facebook data scientist turned whistleblower accused the social media giant of putting its own profits above user safety. Among other claims, documents leaked by Frances Haugen suggested the company was well aware of its toll on the mental health of younger users.