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Instagram brings back chronological feeds — with a catch

The user-favorite feature, which was removed in 2016, can't be set as the default.

Instagram is bringing back a feature that many users have been wanting for years: the ability to see posts in the order they were shared — but it comes with a catch.

The option to view posts chronologically was removed from the app in 2016, and since then, the main feed you see when you open Instagram has been ranked and personalized by an algorithm.

That means that the posts that appear at the top of your main Instagram feed have been curated for you based on factors like your interests and past activity on the app. The main feed also includes suggested posts from users you don’t follow.

Many users have complained about the way the main Instagram feed is ranked, saying that they just want to catch up on the most recent updates from friends without wading through a bunch of recommended posts from people they don’t know.

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, acknowledged feedback like this in a recent Instagram video.

“We ... think it’s important — and we’ve gotten a lot of feedback — that people have access to a deterministic, chronological feed just from the accounts they’ve decided to follow,” he said. “If you’ve seen my DMs, we’ve gotten that request a lot, so we’re excited to announce that today.”

Instagram's parent company, Meta, is introducing two new options for filtering what you see in your feed: following and favorites.

The first option shows posts only from accounts you follow in chronological order, so you can be sure you’re not missing anything.

Similarly, the favorites feed is chronological and only shows posts from people or brands you’ve designated to this group on Instagram. 

The only catch is that you can't set either option as the default. That means when you open Instagram, the main feed — which will still be “ranked and personalized,” according to Mosseri — appears. You must actively click on the app's name at the top left and select either "following" or "favorites" every time.

Instagram’s recent announcement sparked some funny trolling from its fellow social media giant, Twitter.

The @TwitterComms account replied to Instagram’s tweet about the updates with a classic “The Devil Wears Prada” GIF of Miranda Priestly sarcastically saying, “Groundbreaking.”

Instagram shot right back with a screenshot of an Instagram post with the “Edit” option highlighted — a jab at the fact that Twitter does not allow users to edit tweets once posted.

“Instagram wins that round,” one person commented on the thread.