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Have you noticed Instagram kinda sucks now? You open the app, scroll through your feed, and think, “Who the hell are these people?” In its heyday, Instagram was a simple social media app for friends to follow other friends and catch up on their lives with fun photos and filters. Now, you’re being served fake TikToks from “celebrities” you don’t care about. Let’s fix it.

What’s going on with the Instagram feed?

Instagram’s changes are unpopular with a wide variety of users. Hell, even Kim Kardashian called out the company for trying to be TikTok. Kardashian has a point: The company is testing a new feature that shows 9:16 photos and videos in full screen on your feed, and people aren’t thrilled. Even Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, feels the feature “isn’t good yet,” and insists its currently on testing to a small percentage of users.

Still, that’s only one criticism of the platform. The main issue, I think, is that Instagram is showing us a lot of content we don’t care about. Sure, the move to video is clearly chasing TikTok’s success, but if we’re seeing videos from friends and family, or from the creators we want to follow, that’s fine. It’s the onslaught of posts from other accounts on Instagram we don’t care about that’s driving us nuts.

Don’t use the default Instagram feed

One quick way to make sure you’re not seeing posts from irrelevant Instagram accounts is to avoid the default Instagram feed. Instead, you should use the “Following” or “Favorites” feeds to see posts from only the accounts you care about. These feeds don’t show suggested posts, nor do they show you ads. Plus, they’re chronological. It’s really the quickest way to clean up your feed, and make Instagram fun to use again.

The “Following” feed is the easiest one to use: From the main Instagram feed, tap “Instagram,” then choose “Following.” Here, you will only see posts from accounts you’re currently following on Instagram, without being plagued by suggested posts or other annoying “features.” It makes Instagram feel a bit more like it did back in the day when you signed on to see what your friends were up to, or to keep up with an interesting person’s life and work.

If your goal is to see posts from the accounts you’re most interested in, you’ll want to invest some time in the “Favorites” feature. There’s a two-pronged benefit to Favorites: Not only is there a section dedicated solely to posts from your favorites, but Instagram actually floats posts from this list to the top of your main feed. It’s a win-win to use it.

To add accounts to your favorites, tap on your Profile in the bottom right, tap the hamburger menu in the top right, then choose “Favorites.” Now, start adding as many favorites as you want. Instagram will suggest accounts to add, but you can search for any account you currently follow to add. When you’re finished, tap “Confirm favorites.”

Now, go back to your main feed, tap “Instagram,” then choose “Favorites” to only see posts from that select group.

Block suggested posts on Instagram (for a while)

Suggested posts are often annoying. Sure, sometimes the algorithm delivers you a post you enjoy seeing, but, most of the time, you’re scrolling your feed to look for posts from people you’re following, not from those you don’t. Isn’t that what the Explore page is all about anyway?

Instagram doesn’t let you turn suggested posts off, but the app does let you “snooze” them for a month. Better than nothing. To do so, tap the X in the top right corner of the post, then, from the options, choose “Snooze all suggested posts in feed for 30 days.”

Once those suggested posts come back, you can repeat the process to save your sanity for another month. Or, you can fall back on the Following and Favorites feeds to never see them again.

Tell the Instagram algorithm you’re sick of its shit

Suggested posts on your feed and Explore page appear because Instagram thinks its content you want to see. When you watch a video long enough, or even favorite a post, the algorithm knows it has your attention. But, often, it doesn’t know for sure whether or not you hated something. Tell it.

The next time something comes on your feed or Explore page you do not care about, tap the three dots that appear on the post and choose “Not Interested.” It won’t magically fix things, but it will increase the chances the algorithm avoids content like it in the future.

[NPR]





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