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Social networks are a steady stream of updates from your family and friends, or people you are interested in. But how you see these updates is slowly changing. Facebook was the first to introduce an algorithmic timeline, and Twitter and Instagram are now following suit.

Not everyone is happy about this. In fact, some suggest that an algorithmic timeline is the death of Twitter Why an Algorithm Change Would Be The Death of Twitter Why an Algorithm Change Would Be The Death of Twitter Four days after the #RIPtwitter protest, Twitter did decide to make some changes to the timeline, but they weren't as significant as first expected. So what exactly happened? Read More . So let’s find out what this change means for you, why you might want to disable it, and how to go back to the old view.

What Are Algorithmic Feeds?

From March/April 2016, Twitter and Instagram will no longer order your timeline or news feed chronologically. Instead, smart software will analyze your existing timeline and figure out what you need to read first and what you should read later. Facebook, of course, has been doing this for a long time now.

facebook-timeline

In a way, the social networks are deciding what you should be reading. It’s not a simple layout where your timeline first shows whatever is posted latest, followed by the next most recent post, and so on. What this also means is that you aren’t in control any more.

On Twitter, this is a new version of the ‘While You Were Away’ feature Never Miss A Great Tweet Again: Meet Twitter's 'While You Were Away' Feature Never Miss A Great Tweet Again: Meet Twitter's 'While You Were Away' Feature Twitter has been making some changes to draw new users. Several iOS users are now reporting seeing a feature that recaps important tweets you may have missed, called "While You Were Away". Read More , where Twitter curated the best tweets from your timeline when you hadn’t checked it for some time—like when you were sleeping.

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Twitter-while-you-were-away-timeline-highlights

Instagram was bought by Facebook for a billion dollars $1 Billion In 2 Years: The Story Of Instagram, As Told By Its Founders $1 Billion In 2 Years: The Story Of Instagram, As Told By Its Founders "What are some good places to get professional business cards printed?" When Kevin Systrom put this innocuous question on Quora 3.5 years ago, little did he know how valuable those business cards would become. Read More not too long ago, so it’s not surprising that the photo-based social network is adopting a similar strategy as its parent company.

Pros of Algorithmic Feeds

To be fair to the companies, they have good intentions behind these algorithmic timelines. Not everyone checks their social networks all the time, so you don’t want such casual users to think their timelines are filled with random junk. If there has been an interesting conversation or post, you want them to see it to understand how useful that social network is.

Facebook-Twitter-Instagram-icons

Instagram estimates that users miss around 70% of their feed. So it only makes sense to reorder the feed to put things you will like at the top.

Plus, it’s not like you miss out on any content. Both Twitter and Instagram have said that this new change only affects the order of the posts; it doesn’t hide or delete any. So “interesting” posts will be shown at the top, again from newest to oldest, followed by the rest of the posts in the current reverse chronological order.

Even as a power user, this feature is bound to save you some time if you find interesting stuff first and don’t have to scroll back a long way to find it.

Cons of Algorithmic Feeds

That said, this change intimately affects several factors. Naturally, it disrupts the user experience you are accustomed to.

When you see something on your timeline and want to comment, you will now have to check the timestamp to see if your comment is still relevant or not.

Facebook-Twitter-Instagram-frustration

You’re also dependent on the algorithm’s smarts, and that means you have to interact more with your social network for the algorithm to get better. Basically, start tapping that Like button on the kind of photos and tweets you like, engage in conversations with people who you want on your timeline more often, and so on, so that the network “learns” what you like.

A company having control over your timeline can be a big issue. Facebook, for instance, already restricts how many times a brand’s posts can appear in your News Feed. You might like Make Use Of’s Facebook page, but that doesn’t mean you’ll see all updates from it in your timeline. While Twitter and Instagram haven’t announced such a move yet, it can’t be far away.

Of course, the business model of social networks is dependent upon ads. They now have the power to insert ads in the right order on your timeline, and they are gaining more information about you as well. While we think it’s time to embrace and make ads better for yourself, this is still a bit uncomfortable.

If you scheduled posts at a certain time every day, there’s no guarantee that your audience will see it at that time.

And finally, if you are a social marketer, you can chuck out a whole bunch of the rules you learnt because these new timelines are changing the game. Instagram users are already noting drops in likes and followers because of the new algorithm, so you’ll need to learn new tricks to get more likes and comments How to Get More Likes and Comments on Instagram, According to Science How to Get More Likes and Comments on Instagram, According to Science Read More .

How to Disable Twitter’s Algorithmic Feed

Of the three social networks, Twitter is the only one to let you opt out completely How to Stop Twitter From Pushing "Best Tweets" on Your Feed How to Stop Twitter From Pushing "Best Tweets" on Your Feed Twitter recently started pushing "Best Tweets" to the front of your feed. Here's how to turn that off for good. Read More . Here’s how to do it.

  1. Go to Profile > Settings > Timeline
  2. Uncheck the box for “Show me the best tweets first”
  3. Save changes

Timeline_Android

This method works on the web, Android, and iOS apps. The algorithmic feed is so far restricted only to the official app, so you can safely use third-party Android apps Forget Twitter's Official Android App, Use These Apps Instead Forget Twitter's Official Android App, Use These Apps Instead The official Twitter app sucks. Let's be honest. So here are some amazing alternatives. Read More and iOS Twitter clients Forget Twitter's Official iPhone App, Use These Instead Forget Twitter's Official iPhone App, Use These Instead Now that we've told you why everyone needs Twitter in their lives, here's one more piece of unsolicited advice: don't use the official Twitter app. Read More without a worry.

How to Disable Instagram’s Algorithmic Feed

So far, Instagram hasn’t offered a way to change your timeline to display posts in the old reverse chronological order, or make that a permanent setting.

Instagram-demo

On the bright side, this new order will be rolled out slowly over the next few months, and Instagram has promised to actively implement user feedback. So all your Instagram tips and tricks 10 Awesome Instagram Tricks You Should Definitely Check Out 10 Awesome Instagram Tricks You Should Definitely Check Out Whether you're managing a team Instagram account or just wanting to send a friend some super-awesome marshmallows, there are lots of Instagram tricks waiting for you. Read More might be intact for now. And in case you don’t like the feature or just want an option to go back to the old timeline, let them know!

Another solution for when the roll-out is complete is to use one of many third-party Instagram web clients Find The Best Instagram Web Viewer: Your Options Compared Find The Best Instagram Web Viewer: Your Options Compared Read More and mobile apps to view your Instagram feed.

How to Disable Facebook’s Algorithmic Feed

The first to go for an algorithmic feed, Facebook has stuck with it. In fact, while there are several ways to control your Facebook news feed Don’t Be an Experiment: How to Control Your Facebook News Feed Don’t Be an Experiment: How to Control Your Facebook News Feed What determines what is and isn't a top Facebook post? How often you interact with a person, topics you're interested in, how many likes or comments the post attracts, and – apparently – psychological experiments. Read More , there is no option to permanently go back to a chronological timeline.

The best you can do right now is to use Facebook friends lists Using Facebook Friends Lists For Interests Or Circles [Facebook Hack Or Tip Of The Week] Using Facebook Friends Lists For Interests Or Circles [Facebook Hack Or Tip Of The Week] Is Facebook driving you crazy? Most people who use Facebook generally view the home feed in its unfiltered form, which means they're seeing updates from friends, acquaintances and pages all lumped in together and shown... Read More  to choose who will be visible, and to change the order of the feed once you have started the app on your phone or visited the website.

Timeline-Facebook-most-recent-desktop

On the Facebook website, click the drop-down arrow in News Feed in the sidebar and click Most Recent.

In the Facebook app, tap Settings (the three-line “hamburger” icon) > Feeds > Most Recent.

Do You Love Algorithmic Feeds or Hate Them?

All across the Internet, people seem to have really strong opinions about the new algorithmic timelines on Twitter and Instagram. So we want to know what you think!
Do you love or hate the idea of algorithmic feeds? Had you liked Twitter’s “While You Were Here” feature? Is this all just a lot of hullabaloo about a non-issue?

Image Credits:robot arm by Willyam Bradberry via Shutterstock

  1. dopamine
    December 7, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    HATE IT! I liked Instagram BECAUSE it didn't tell me what was popular!
    Note/Question to Instagram - when a user Follows someone, they WANT to see their posts. Why are you interfering beyond that?!

  2. Sian
    November 27, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    I hate them, I was googling how to get it back in chronological order, I'm going to use a third party web client to view my Instagram from now on. Thanks for the information.

  3. Anthony Breese
    November 23, 2016 at 6:21 am

    So annoying, I used to get 60-70 likes on my Facebook posts, now I'll be lucky if I even get TWO!!! I hate them.

  4. Amy Smith
    November 8, 2016 at 4:51 am

    I hated when Facebook went to an algorithm and was very dismayed when Instagram followed suit. Now I rarely see any of my friends or favorite pages post, only what the system thinks I want to see. I actually miss a lot more. There is a reason I add friends, follow, and like pages. Because I want to SEE their posts!

    However, the crippling issue I have with the Instagram (and Facebook) algorithm is the effect it had on my small business. I spent years growing my Instagram page, my customer base, and my business. I was able to quit my jobs and work from home, enjoying the fact that I was living my dream. However, literally immediately after the algorithm system began, I noticed a sudden decline in likes, comments, and sales. It has grown worse as this year has progressed. I am now making less than 10% of what I used to earn before the algorithm feeds, I am back in the work force since I can no longer live off my business, and thoroughly depressed to see my dreams and achievements fail. Constant attempts to express my concerns and feedback fell on deaf ears, as no one has ever replied to my messages.

    I have spoken with dozens of business owners who also use Instagram, and they too have the same issues. Many have closed up shop or have gone back to work. It is heartbreaking to lose your business, especially when it is out of your control.

    How is it that I can have 46.2k followers, and used to get 500-900 likes and 10-14 comments EVERY post, to now only 120-245 likes and the rare one comment per photo. A friend has a business with 600k followers and used to have 2000-7000 likes per post. Now he is lucky to get 700 likes. It saddens me more that he too had to get a job instead of working from home, where he could spend all day with his twin little girls.

    I played the game of paying for ads many times, and the results I got were jokes. I might as well have lit my money on fire because it didn't benefit me at all. If they want money, I'd be more than happy to pay a couple bucks a month to get my business back and the chronological feeds back for everyone.

    Another issue that began at the same time was follower count problems. I also keep track of the number of followers I gain each day, and have two apps to show what I lose. I should gain at least 100 new followers every 3-5 days, however, my counter MIGHT count up a hundred every other month. I continue to lose out in every direction.

    I am angry and at an all time low. I dedicated 4 years to my business and growing it into something I was incredibly proud of. Now, it's not worth the cost continuing. It is amazing that all of our voices have been ignored and the creators do not care about who they hurt with changes.

    I guess I will always know that for 4 years I had lived a very happy "American Dream".

  5. J Dalton
    October 9, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    I hate them! So much so, that I don't often go on Instagram anymore. How do we let the powers that be know we want an option for Instagram & Facebook?

  6. Jeff patterson
    October 7, 2016 at 2:15 am

    F$&@ Instagram xand any other God damned software that thinks it knows what I want more than myself. Plus, the programmers who do this crap are not going to get into heaven.

  7. DuQuoi
    August 20, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    Where exactly (URL) can we all go complain to Instagram and Facebook and Twitter to give us back the option to arrange our feed in the order we want - chronologically AND all posts! - and not what "they" think we want??

  8. Claire
    July 25, 2016 at 6:52 am

    It irks me to no end that Instagram has the audacity to pretend it knows what I want to see based on whether I've spammed an account with likes or comments. I don't want this garbage, and my feed appears dead at most times even though I follow five hundred accounts because this stupid algorithm hides a vast majority of posts under stuff I'm not as interested in. The arrogance behind not leaving an option for chronological order is disgusting, and accounts like mine which refuse to add irrelevant tags to posts or partake in 'gain tricks' are left with little to no activity as a result of this stupidity. I wish I could throw a rotten tomato at the person who thought this was acceptable to force onto everyone.

    • Reston86
      July 26, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      You hit the nail on the head. Accounts that are not interested in playing stupid algorithm games get ignored. Since this has started I have never before seen so many "like to complete the picture" style posts just to run up the likes on their posts. What also irks me is somehow the all-knowing algorithm can't figure out how to filter out duplicate posts when someone I follow re-posts something from another account I follow.

  9. Chris G
    July 25, 2016 at 6:40 am

    Terrible. Algorithmic feeds always show me the stuff I don't care about first. They reinforce their assumptions about what you want to see because you NEVER see anything other than what they give you. So it gets narrower and narrower, showing you the stuff you kinda want to see but never the stuff you do, because you never see it to "like" it.

    I have installed browser scripts to force a Chronological feed on Facebook, which worked for awhile but Facebook got revenge on those of us that do this by sabotaging it- the reverse chronological feed doesn't have all of the posts. So even then I miss half the posts I want to see.

    If it weren't for the script at least partly returning sanity to the feed, I would have left Facebook. I am considering leaving Instagram now that it's practically unusable.

  10. MP
    July 22, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    The algorithm on Facebook isn't terrible, and also is improved by having controls over it so I can specify what I want to see first, etc. The algorithm on Instagram is TERRIBLE! It replaced all of my friends' feeds with the feeds from my local newspaper and art museum!

  11. WKRWK
    July 3, 2016 at 1:29 am

    I hate the algorithmic feed on Instagram because it disturbs the flow. I have happend to me, saw a photo, commented, and then realized there's a new photo that made the comment irrelevant. And then there are photos that were no longer relevant because it was posted like 11 hours ago. Instagram is not where i consume news, so, it doesnt matter if i missed anything while i was gone. And i dont think the algorithm can understand what photos i like. I don't like a photo because a lot of people like it. I don't like a photo because it was posted by my best friend. I like a photo because i like it at that moment. So, stop screwing with the timeline.
    Btw, if people missed out 70% of the feeds, then how can rearranging the posts reduce the 70%?? That's stupid. If everyday i have, say 30 minutes to scroll through, i will still have 30 minutes if they rearrange the feed. I will still see the same number of posts! Only now, i see them in a confusing non relevant order!! Wrong solution.

    • Mihir Patkar
      July 4, 2016 at 3:56 pm

      Well, they aren't saying people will see all the 70% by rearranging them. They're saying that assuming you still use the same 30 minutes, then their new algorithm will bring to top the content you probably want to see, saving you lots of scrolling. So you see the same number of posts in the 30 minutes, but the *kind* of posts you see are more relevant for you.

      • Chris G
        July 25, 2016 at 6:48 am

        Impossible. I used to end up "liking" about 90% what is on my feed. Why? Because I only follow a handful of accounts. Unlike most folks I don't follow hundreds of people. I have maybe 50-60. Now because of the "algorithm" Instagram is showing me a mere 4 accounts in my feed. I had to scroll past 30 or so posts to get to one other than those 4 accounts. I have purposely NOT liked much on the feed since this change because I am so angry. I have to go to people's profiles and I "like" content that way first. It takes me ages to go through each account one by one. I have been forced to un-follow about 10 accounts at this point since this process takes forever to like the content I want to see.

  12. Devin
    April 13, 2016 at 2:50 am

    I hate the algorithmic feeds. I want to control my timeline with what I want to see. Not some computer running some random algorithm that thinks it knows what I want to see, but I really don't. Just because I click on a story about politics, doesn't mean I want to be inundated by stories and posts about politics. Also, just because my friends have interest in some things doesn't necessarily mean i share the same interests. If I'm interested in something, I will search for it. Majority of the time, when I go back into my social network accounts, it is trying to show me stories or posts I have no interest in. I don't think the algorithm's they use are terribly accurate and because of this I have seemed to reduce my "addiction" to social networks. I used to check them multiple times a day. Now I check them once a day (or maybe every other day) as I find them annoying, and junked up with crap I have no interest in.

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