Instagram brings back chronological feed, adds feature to prioritize family, friends posts

Instagram has finally brought back a chronologically ordered feed.

On Wednesday, the social media app introduced a couple of new ways to view your feed: Following and Favorites. This new customized experience enables users to decide if they want to view posts from accounts they follow in chronological order.

Users can now select the "Instagram" tab at the top left of their home page to switch between Following and Favorites. 

Favorites will show you the latest from a list of accounts you curate while Following shows posts from people you exclusively follow. 

"Favorites shows you the latest from accounts that you choose, like your best friends and favorite creators. In addition to this view, posts from accounts in Favorites will also show up higher in your home feed," Instagram wrote in a blog post. 

Earlier this year, Instagram began testing ways users can control what they see in their feed.

Instagram did away with the chronological feed in 2016 and switched to an engagement-based ranking of content. The change meant that based on what a user showed interest in on the app, the algorithm could resurface content that could be days old which led to frustrated users and creators, according to TechCrunch. 

In December 2021, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram testified about the company’s efforts to address user safety during a Senate hearing on concerns that the social media app is having a harmful effect on the mental health of teenagers. 

In prepared opening remarks, Mosseri argued Instagram was working to address the app’s negative effects. The Instagram chief said he was "proud" of the company’s efforts to "help keep young people safe," though he reiterated the company’s call for the introduction of industry-wide regulations to govern how social media platforms operate.

"I recognize that many in this room have deep reservations about our company," Mosseri said, "but I want to assure you that we do have the same goal. We all want teens to be safe online. The internet isn’t going away, and I believe there’s important work that we can do together – industry and policymakers – to raise the standards across the internet to better serve and protect young people."

Mosseri agreed to testify at a fifth hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee’s consumer protection panel, which is working to address public concerns about online safety for children. He called for the creation of an independent oversight body that would set standards for the tech industry on key safety policies such as age verification, parental controls, and building what he described as "age-appropriate experiences."

"This body should receive input from civil society, parents, and regulators. The standards should be high and protections universal," Mosseri said. "And I believe that companies like ours should have to adhere to these standards to earn some of our Section 230 protections."

On the eve of the hearing, Instagram released a set of tools meant to promote user health. The tools include a "take a break" feature and one that will "nudge" teen users to view a different topic if they have engaged with one for too long. 
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has faced unprecedented scrutiny in recent months after whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former employee, leaked thousands of documents detailing internal research into harm caused by the platform. In previous testimony on Capitol Hill, Haugen said company executives were aware of the harmful effects on teen users but prioritized profit over safety.

Catherine Stoddard contributed to this story.