We’ve all experienced it. That weird feeling when Instagram prioritizes users over others for no apparent reason, making you wonder if maybe you’ve been stalking them without knowing about it. Or when the person you like is always the first one to view your Instagram stories, no matter when you uploaded it.
There’s no way of knowing how Instagram’s algorithm works, especially since the company guards that secret pretty closely, but Instagram has released small bits of information that allow us to make assumptions. In order to understand Instagram a little bit more, The Verge had a meeting with them and asked some of everyone’s most pressing questions.
According to Julian Gutman, product lead for Instagram Home, the order of the people who view your stories has nothing to do with who stalks you. He explains that the order of users is a reflection of your activity and who you’re closest to, be that through the fact that you’re visiting their regularly page, or are talking to them through direct messages. If you visit your crushes’ or anyone else’s page a few times a week, they’ll be prominently displayed all over your app.
Another question that people have is about those random users who sometimes show up prominently on your app. According to Gutman, this happens when you refresh your page regularly and the apps tries to provide you with new information, keeping you engaged.
Another interesting thing that was confirmed is the connection between Instagram and Facebook. The Verge claims that the people you interact with on Facebook will be reflected on your Instagram activity in one way or another.
While the Instagram algorithm remains a mystery, it’s nice to know that all the information your app displays is based on your activity alone. You may trick yourself into believing that your ex regularly checks your profile and is always the first to view your story, but the truth is that, for the most part, your Instagram knows you pretty well.