Your Instagram Feed Is About To Be Full Of Strangers

photographed by Meg O'Donnell.
If you've spent years carefully curating your Instagram feed so that it's exactly the right mix of friends, "good" celebs, meme accounts and more, then Instagram's latest update will most certainly not be a welcome change.
"Recommended For You", an update that was being tested a month ago, has now gone live according to reports from Tech Crunch.
It means that posts from people you don't follow, which aren't sponsored, can now appear on your personal feed. Previously, the only place to see these posts would be if a user decided to visit the "explore" page.
This isn't great. For starters, people are starting to get more savvy about who they follow and why. In the past few months alone we've had people at the highest echelons warn about the dangers of social media, from President Obama just two days ago to former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya, who warned us that we are "being programmed" by social media. Study after study this year has stated categorically that social media use is intrinsically linked to mental health problems like anxiety and depression. Being more mindful about who you follow has gone from being "just good sense" to a necessity. Just last week, we suggested a new year's resolution of culling every single account you follow that makes you feel bad – from friends to fitness bloggers, clean eating gurus to influencers – and replacing them with altogether more positive accounts.
Now, though, with "Recommended For You" inserting unsolicited posts into your safe feed, it seems that work may be in vain.
To be fair, an Instagram spokesperson did tell Tech Crunch that Recommended For You posts will not appear in your feed until after you've viewed all the posts in your feed. Nevertheless, the change has already begun to affect users.
A sliver of good news, though – there is a way to temporarily stop seeing posts from recommended accounts. Annoyingly, you can't turn off the feature as a whole, only hide individual posts by clicking the three dots in the top right-hand corner of the post and selecting "hide".
Right, off to watch Black Mirror for an altogether more cheery outlook on social media and the future.

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