Why your friends are disappearing from your Instagram feed – Sydney Morning Herald
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You might have noticed that Instagram has recently made a few cute changes to your feed.
Practically all your friends’ content is gone. There are roughly 100 times more ads. It’s stacked with reposted TikToks from meme accounts you don’t follow. And everything is played at full volume against your will.
This morning I scrolled past 64 shoddy videos and screenshotted tweets before seeing one photo from a friend. Each swipe felt like I was wading, deeper and deeper, into a sea of hot internet garbage. And, thanks to the app’s new “immersive” screen display, I very quickly felt my head slip underwater.
The new Instagram is a lot like TikTok… if TikTok was far, far worse.
Before we go any further, I know how this sounds. Complaining about changes to a social media platform is boring. We’re all scared of change. Everyone hates the new until the second they kinda love it. But I really feel like this complaint is justified.
Other users have called this “one of the worst updates to an app [they] have ever seen” and argued Instagram has become “one of the most unbearable, unusable social media platforms to exist” (a huge call considering the competition includes Facebook, Twitter and Reddit).
This is partly because the changes – which the app has been testing with select users since May – are clunky. The scrolling function doesn’t work very well. The forced audio is annoying. It all feels like a D-grade knockoff of TikTok.
But a much bigger part of the frustration is that these changes represent a fundamental shift in what the app is, especially when compared to what it promised us.
Instagram was supposed to be a living photo album; a place where you could trade snapshots of your life and keep up to date with the people you love and the people you’ve been weirdly stalking since high school. But as the platform pushes more and more “recommended” posts into our feeds (usually high-profile accounts, viral video creators and internet-famous dogs) to boost engagement, it pushes out the people we actually know and care about.
Our feeds aren’t about us anymore. They’re just a place where we get marketed to.
Miss your old feed? You can get a version of it back by hitting the ‘Following’ button under the logo to the top left of your screen. Credit:Instagram/Meta
This loss doesn’t sound like much but, put in a broader context, it really feels like the end of an era. From coding backgrounds on your MySpace page to uploading full photo albums on Facebook, curation has always been a core part of social media – and that comes with a sense of ownership. These places were cosy little corners of the internet we could make our own, and connect with our friends who were doing the same.
Now MySpace is long dead, Facebook is the place your family members argue in the comments sections of news stories, and the most engaging platform is TikTok: an app that’s ultimately about entertainment rather than social connection, and functions through an all-knowing algorithm we have no understanding, let alone control, of.
Yes, we still have Instagram Stories. And the app has given us options to claw back some control too (you can snooze suggested posts for 30 days and get filtered ‘Following’ and ‘Favourites’ versions of your feed through a drop-down menu on the top left).
But the changes mark a clear shift in direction. And it’s fundamentally depressing to realise that a few lines of code can almost entirely push you out of the cosy online nook you’ve spent more than a decade decorating.
I never thought I’d feel so nostalgic for people’s bad food pics and monthly photo dumps.
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August 4, 2022 at 09:13AM