Meta-owned Instagram plans to bring back “a version” of its chronological feed next year, according to company head Adam Mosseri.
During a Senate hearing on Instagram and teen safety (via Engadget), Mosseri said he supports “giving people the option to have a chronological feed.”
“We’re currently working on a version of a chronological feed that we hope to launch next year,” said Mosseri, noting that the company had been working on it “for months” and that it aimed to launch the feature in the first quarter of 2022.
We want to be clear that we’re creating new options — providing people with more choices so they can decide what works best for them — not switching everyone back to a chronological feed. You can expect more on this early next year!
— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) December 8, 2021
Instagram later confirmed to Engadget that it was working on a chronological feed option as well as a ‘favourites’ feed that will surface posts from designated friends. Both will be optional, and Instagram shared on Twitter that it’s adding choices so users “can decide what works best for them.”
The confirmation comes after developer and reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi recently found an Instagram feature that would let users sort their feed by ‘home,’ ‘favourites’ or ‘following.’
— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) October 29, 2021
It’s not clear if any of those include the chronological feed. Another recent Instagram test saw the company add ‘suggested posts‘ to users’ feeds.
Adding a chronological feed would be a significant shift for Instagram, which previously removed its chronological feed more than five years ago. Since then, Instagram has vigorously defended its algorithmic feed even as it faced increased scrutiny over how its algorithms ranked and suggested content, particularly for younger users.
The move may also be a ploy to ward off potential regulation. Mosseri’s testimony before the Senate comes as part of a wider set of hearings about teen mental health, which has so far heard from executives at Snap, TikTok and YouTube. Further, U.S. Congress introduced a bill in October to strip Section 230 protections from online platforms that recommend harmful content to users.
Regardless, fans of the chronological feed will be happy to hear Instagram is bringing it back. However, it remains to be seen if Instagram’s “version” of a chronological feed will satiate users, if it will be beneficial or if it will perpetuate existing problems with the platform.