50,000 users want Instagram to turn back time


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People really want their chronologically ordered feeds to stay.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

An online petition asking Instagram to reverse its decision to get rid of chronological order in users’ feeds has gathered almost 50,000 signatures in a day.

The request emerged after the photo-sharing platform announced yesterday that it intends to switch to algorithm-based ordering “based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post.”

User resistance has been immediate, fierce, and completely opposed, surprising no one.

The company’s announcement isn’t too surprising. Other social-media platforms like Facebook and Twitter already use algorithms to prioritize content, and those transitions also annoyed users. But while Facebook’s ordering is standard, Twitter at least lets users chose to maintain the chronological order of their feeds. The algorithms may be designed to keep sponsored content featured prominently to provide companies with additional revenue, and that has little to do with usability.

Instagram revealed it would be rolling out the changes “in the coming months” yesterday, and we suspected that some people might be upset. The petition on Change.org came in response to the company saying that it would be listening to its community.

“Is this something that the community really wants?” the page says. “At the very least, shouldn’t the community be able to opt-in, rather than having it mandated that this is how we will now see our feed?

“If you DO NOT want your feed to be presented in an order that you don’t have any control over and would prefer to have it presented in the current chronological format or – AT LEAST – have the choice to sort your feed the way you want, please sign the petition so that Instagram can take our feedback on board.”

Those caps are all theirs. They feel very strongly about it.

The petition has picked up 50,817 signatures as of this writing, so Instagram will almost certainly have to take notice.


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