When Instagram announced last year that it was abandoning its chronological posting in favor of an algorithmically determined newsfeed, many photographers were displeased.

Despite the online outrage, Instagram’s shift appears to have delivered the goods. According to TechCrunch’s Josh Constine, the platform’s “growth rate spiked, sharing per user increased, and Instagram has added 200 million monthly active users since to reach 700 million.”

It’s a similar story at Twitter, where a shift from chronological posting to algorithmic sorting has been credited with driving a surprising jump in new users (although a certain Twitter-happy President probably didn’t hurt growth, either).

For Constine, the message is clear:

In both cases, going algorithmic seemed antithetical to the core identity of the services, and long-time users vocally griped that their apps were ruined…but they weren’t. Twitter wants you to know what’s going on in the world. Instagram wants you to see what’s going on with your friends and interests. Both missions are better accomplished when you see the most relevant content first, no matter how often or little you open the apps.

So, love it or hate it, it’s a safe bet that your social media interactions will dispassionately arbitrated by an algorithm for the foreseeable future.


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