Instagram’s algorithm overhaul will reward ‘original content’ and penalize aggregators

Instagram is revising its recommendation algorithm for Reels to boost “original content” in a move that will have significant implications for aggregator accounts and others who primarily repost other users’ work. The company is also changing the way it ranks Reels to give smaller accounts more of a stake in the app.

In a blog post announcing the changes, the company said it was working to “fix” the ranking system so that accounts with fewer followers have an easier time expanding their reach. “Historically, because of how we rank content, creators with large followings and aggregators of retweeted content have received more referrals than smaller, original content creators,” the company explains. “We feel it’s important to fix this to give all creators a more equal chance to reach new audiences.”

It’s unclear exactly how Instagram has changed its recommendations to make its recommendations “more equal,” but the company suggests that the algorithm will no longer favor accounts with more followers. regardless of whether they follow the account that posted it,” the company says. “When that audience engages with the content, the top performing reels are shown to a slightly wider audience, and then the best of them are shown to a slightly wider audience. wider group etc.” The change will be rolled out in the “coming months,” so it may still be a while before creators see the effects of this update.

App changes around “original content” can be faster. Instagram said that when it detects two identical pieces of content, it will actively replace rerun Reels with the “original” clip in its offerings. Accounts sharing Reposted Reels will also be tagged prominently with the original creator. The company says the changes will not apply to creators who make “significant” changes, such as recording audio or reaction clips, or whose posts are “materially edited to become a meme.”

Aggregator accounts that post other people’s posts “repeatedly” will be penalized even more severely. Instagram says it will completely stop recommending Reels from those accounts if they’ve posted inauthentic content 10 or more times in the previous 30 days. This change could crater the reach of popular aggregator accounts that share clips of other users, often to promote affiliate marketing links and other schemes.

Note that all of these changes currently only apply to Reels, not other Instagram post types (a spokesperson said the company will “explore to expand to other formats in the future”). tried to downplay the importance of viewership. This has frustrated some creators, who complain that most of their followers don’t see their posts in their feeds.

In recent weeks, the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, went to Threads from several creators who share their accounts and more demanding to find out why their followers are not seeing their posts. In a recent exchange, nature photographer Nate Luebbe, who has 142,000 followers on Instagram, explained to Mosseri why a popular post reaches about 20 percent of his followers. In Mosseri suggested that this is how Instagram’s algorithm was designed to work.

So while these latest changes are specifically aimed at Reels, the updates indicate that Meta will continue to focus on metrics other than viewership. This may be frustrating for those who have built up a large audience over the years, but Meta sees this as a better way to level the playing field for smaller accounts.

Instagram has updated its algorithm before to prioritize original content. Mosseri said at the time that he didn’t want the program to “overvalue aggregators,” though he acknowledged that it’s difficult to know “for sure” that a piece of content is genuine. Regardless of the changes made then, if the company is still trying to “fix” the imbalances two full years later, it may not have gone far enough.

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