A Bug Causes Instagrammers To Briefly Lose Their Cool — & Their Memes

Update: 10:50 a.m.: Refinery29 reached out to Instagram for comment on these changes. A spokesperson says the changes users noticed on their feed were the result of a bug that temporarily resulted in less personalized content for a small number of users. Keep calm and carry on with your memes.
This piece was originally published on May 4, 2018 at 9:15 a.m.
Hell hath no fury like an Instagrammer who loses their memes. Yesterday, outraged users took to Twitter with complaints about their Explore page, which was suddenly lacking in the glorious mix of slime videos, puppies, and memes the discovery section has become known for. In their place: Rows of beautiful lifestyle photos, the sort you might see when scrolling through an aspirational brand's feed.
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Instagram announced a redesign of Explore — which has long been hailed as a kind of magical cabinet of curiosities — at Facebook's developer conference on Tuesday. The new Explore tab is meant to encourage greater discovery and personalization, by basing recommended photos and videos on topic channels that represent an individual user's interests. For example, animals and architecture. The photos some users have posted on Twitter look different than the image of the new Explore feed Instagram showed on Monday.
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram.
Whatever the cause may be, the immediate backlash is similar to what Snapchat experienced in the months following the redesign of its app. Earlier this week, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel talked about plans to roll out a redesign of the redesign in response to user outrage, which included brutally honest feedback from Kylie Jenner and a Change.org petition with over 1.2 million signatures.
This is not the first time an Instagram change has provoked a critical response. Since the app got rid of its chronological feed in 2016, users have pleaded for its return. These calls did not go unnoticed: In March, Instagram promised to push newer posts to the top of feeds.
The response to the Explore change serves as affirmation of the tab's value: Users don't just go to Instagram to see what their friends, favorite celebrities, and brands are posting. They go to see the slimy, wacky combination of photos and videos it's hard to find anywhere else.
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Unfortunately, there is no way to completely reset your Explore feed. However, you can still tap the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of an image and select "see fewer posts like this." That won't solve problem, but it will help adjust your preferences.
For now, the message to Instagram is clear: Bring back the memes.
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