How to Disable Suggested Posts on Instagram

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Recommended content on Melissa Henderson’s Instagram feed felt personalized makeup, cosplay, and other artistic content they liked. Now it seems “almost completely random”, according to the 23-year-old, who said he’s been using the app for more than a decade.

When a recommended post makes a move in Henderson’s interests, the quality of the content seems significantly worse, they said. The helpful crafting instructions that Henderson enjoyed, for example, have been replaced with nonsensical crafting “hacks”. A video suggests that a quick way to make cake icing is to melt regular ice cream and then put it back in the freezer, Henderson said.

“It makes the app almost useless and just a waste of time,” they said.

Henderson is one of many Instagram users annoyed by what they see as the platform’s continued move away from friends and photo sharing towards video and algorithmically promoted content. Fans and critics have attributed many of Instagram’s recent changes to Meta’s competition with Chinese social media giant TikTok, which mostly displays content from foreigners. Last summer, Instagram started adding places for “recommended” videos — from accounts you don’t follow — to your regular feed. And Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on his Instagram account in June that the app would start testing a full-screen feed like TikTok’s.

I gave Instagram photos of my baby. Instagram returned fear.

More placements for sponsored posts and “reels” – Instagram’s version of TikTok’s video product – could create more money-making opportunities for creators and Instagram. But the perceived spike in the number of ads and recommended posts isn’t the only frustrating change for some of the app’s billions of users: Instagram’s content, according to Tiffany Jiang, 26, is “trashier”. than before.

For example, she sees many short video reels that appear designed to promote the reel product itself, with creators hiding and then revealing their faces to demonstrate the effect of a particular face filter. Jiang said she had neither the patience nor the interest to wait for the revelation.

“It looks like this random clickbait on the side of a website,” said the Brooklyn-based product designer, who interned at Instagram-owner Meta (then Facebook) early in her career.

Last year, Instagram began “paying eligible creators based on views of their qualifying reels,” a spokeswoman said.

App updates almost always bother users. But Instagram’s experiments such as its new full-screen test feed — which Jiang says resembles TikTok’s video-focused feed without the benefit of TikTok’s on-the-nose personalization algorithm — are particularly infuriating, she said. She struggles to tell which posts are ads, she said, and her recommended content sometimes contains posts from people who seem much younger than Instagram’s stated age limit of 13. Instagram feels less like a place to share photos and videos and more like a chaotic “hub” for Meta to “build relationships with brands,” Jiang said.

Instagram is rolling out age verification, but not to keep kids away from the app

“There’s no denying that we’re in a competitive space, and that’s what motivates us to continue exploring ways to better serve our Instagram community,” said Tessa Lyons-Laing, director of product management at Meta, in a statement shared with The Washington Post. . “Instagram is where your friends and interests meet – you connect with friends through entertaining and original content and explore your interests together.”

Lyons-Laing also noted that users can “snooze” recommended content (we’ll show you how below) and that the company has plans for more controls down the road. Right now, she said some people might see more recommendations than others based on the company’s testing.

When asked if the company has any metrics supporting the idea that users like to see more recommended content, Lyons-Laing said, “We’ve heard research that people like suggestions because it helps them discover new accounts to follow and explore their interests.” She declined to share specific numbers or metrics.

Kyle Vondra, a software engineer in Sunnyvale, Calif., said the app was the most magazine-like — “mostly advertising with occasional content.”

Rest assured: there are several things you can do if your Instagram feed is getting you down.

Instagram lets you pause from seeing posts from people you don’t know, but only for 30 days at a time.

To repeat recommended posts, find one in your feed and tap the three dots in the top right corner. Then choose “not interested”. Instagram will hide the post and give you a menu of choices. Tap on “Hold all suggested posts in the feed for 30 days”.

When the messages start appearing after a month, you can try repeating them again.

Tell the app you want to see less of what you don’t like

If your Explore tab (the tab with the magnifying glass) has gone crazy, you can try nudging its algorithm in the right direction.

Find a piece of content you’d rather not see and tap the three circles in the top right corner. Choose “not interested” and Instagram says it will hide the post and show you fewer similar posts.

Switch to your “favorite” or “followed” feeds

“Favorites” shows you posts from accounts you’ve added to your favorites list. “Following” displays content from people you follow in the order it was posted. To switch to one of these alternate feeds, tap the Instagram logo in the upper left corner of the home tab.

(You can create your list of favorite accounts by tapping “favorites” -> “add favorites”. The app will automatically populate a list of people it thinks you like. Mine showed my husband, my best friend, my dad and coworkers. Press “confirm favorites” to run with this list, or add and remove people using the “remove” buttons and the friend search bar.)

If you access Instagram from your internet browser, you won’t find any ads or suggested posts — just dozens of photos from your roommate’s boyfriend’s sister’s wedding reception.

Henderson, Jiang and Vondra said they’ve been spending less time on Instagram lately. You can also just leave – as long as you’re OK with leaving your Instagram connections behind.

“It’s the same way that there was a phase where we were like, ‘We’re never going to leave Facebook,'” Jiang said. “And now we literally don’t use it anymore.”

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