Instagram says reception to its “suggested posts” feature has been so positive that it’s launching a new test: this time, suggested posts will be mixed throughout your primary feed, sometimes ahead of photos and videos from people you follow.
The company is testing new controls, too, that’ll allow users to add specific topics as an interest for their suggested posts, as well as the ability to snooze the recommendations for 30 days to hide them from the feed entirely. (You can see what that looks like below.) The feature, which launched last year, has so far offered additional content only after you’ve seen everything the people you follow have shared. This new test will come to a “small number” of users.
Although this change is only a test for now, it could signal a major shift in how the platform works. Instagram, of course, has an interest in surfacing suggested content to keep people on the app for longer. At the same time, people might prefer to just see the posts from the people they follow, especially if that group is small. (People are still upset the feed is no longer chronological, let alone now including posts from strangers.) That snooze button might end up being highly used.
This move also feels like part of a bigger trend in which platforms attempt to give users a semblance of control over the algorithm. Earlier this week, Tinder announced a feature where users could swipe only on people with certain interests, for example — a first for the company. Although algorithms are powerful enough to know what people’s interests are and what keeps them engaged, letting people select what they want to see might make them feel more empowered and give them greater understanding into why they see what they do. The app can feel less creepy while also keeping them interested, a win-win for companies.