At the Senate hearing on children’s online safety, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri said that the company is working on an optional chronological feed to give users more control over the content they view on the platform. The social media company is under scrutiny after a whistleblowers testimony that parent company Meta knew of the detrimental impact of Instagram on young girls’ mental and physical health but failed to take any remedial measures.
Led by Senator Richard Blumenthal, Mr. Mosseri was called to attend the congressional hearing on the impact of the app on children at the consumer protection subcommittee of the Senate’s Commerce Committee on December 6, 2021. The global head of safety for Meta, Antigone Davis, and former Meta employee turned whistle-blower, Frances Haugen will also be testifying before the committee.
Instagram to introduce two optional feeds: chronological and favorites
Engadget reports that Mr. Mosseri told the lawyers that “we’re currently working on a version of a chronological feed that we hope to launch next year.” He also added that the company had been working on the new feed for months and it is expected to launch in early 2022. In 2016, Instagram replaced chronological feed with an algorithm-based feed and despite criticism, the social media giant has defended the algorithm feed.
Launching an option for a chronological feed would be a major reversal for the photo sharing app, which has consistently defended its algorithmic feed despite persistent complaints and conspiracy theories from users about how their posts are ranked. In a blog post in June, Mosseri wrote that a chronological feed made it “impossible for most people to see everything, let alone all the posts they cared about.” He said the chronological feed resulted in people “missing” a majority of the posts in their feed in 2016.
In addition, the company is also working on a new Favorites feed for users to choose which accounts they want to rank higher. Having said that, both of the new feeds will be optional so that users can personalize their experience on the app.
We want to be clear that we’re creating new options — providing people with more choices so they can decide what works best for them — not switching everyone back to a chronological feed. You can expect more on this early next year!
— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) December 8, 2021
Attorney General Josh Shapiro has also launched a nationwide investigation into Meta for promoting Instagram in such a way that puts children and young adults at harm. The probe will also focus on the violation of consumer protection laws by Meta.