In March Instagram began testing a new feed sorted by an algorithm, promising to show you the photos you're most likely to enjoy rather than the ones that were posted most recently. This triggered a global thirst crisis in which desperate Instagram celebrities, terrified that their selfies would be buried beneath users' actual friends, began begging followers to turn on push notifications for their accounts. The global anguish, which gathered at such hashtags as #TurnMeOn and #LetsStayTogether, seems to have passed. But it may be about to come back: Instagram is now rolling out its algorithmic feed around the world.
The new feed uses machine learning to create a more personalized feed based on what it thinks you will enjoy more, based on your past activity. If you regularly like and comment on certain accounts' posts, those posts will float above pictures from that one sociopath who posts 17 photos in a row. If this sounds like Facebook, that's because it is exactly like Facebook. (Facebook owns Instagram.)
In a blog post, Instagram said non-thirst monsters were really enjoying the new feed. "We found that people are liking photos more, commenting more and generally engaging with the community in a more active way," the company wrote. Note that it did not say people are enabling push notifications more. Sorry!
If there's anyone who should feel sad about today's changes, it's the 47,000 people who retweeted this:
We're listening and we assure you nothing is changing with your feed right now. We promise to let you know when changes roll out broadly.— Instagram (@instagram) March 28, 2016
Nothing is changing! For about 10 weeks! Then everything is changing!
Instagram did let us know when changes began rolling out broadly, though. As promised.