Fact Checking The Instagram ‘Turn On Post Notifications’ Uproar

Photo: Courtesy Instagram.
In the wake of Instagram's announcement that it would begin testing a new, algorithmic timeline, people are freaking out. Kendall Jenner tweeted about it yesterday, and a host of stuff is showing up on Instagram itself, as well as other social media sites. Namely, some popular Instagram accounts are urging their followers to select "Turn On Post Notifications" to ensure that you don't miss out on their posts. But this is being blown out of proportion. Before you switch up all your Instagram settings to battle the new timeline, here's what you need to know.

What's Happening?

Following in the steps of Facebook and Twitter, Instagram plans to start testing a new, non-chronological timeline. It'll use an AI algorithm to determine what posts you'd most like to see, and show those to you first when you open the app. The reasoning behind the change, according to CEO Kevin Systrom, is that right now, people miss roughly 70% of the posts in their Instagram feed. By highlighting popular posts, trending posts, and posts from people you interact with most on the social network, Instagram hopes to ensure you don't miss out on images you would have liked to see.

Has My Feed Changed?

Probably not. Instagram has begun testing the new algorithmic feed with only a small subset of users at the moment.

Do I Need To Turn On Post Notifications?

Short answer: No. Depending on who you follow, you may have seen a post like the one below in your feed.
In fact, the line above about "if you don't actively 'turn on notifications,' you probably won't see my photos at all" is a flat-out lie. Turning on Post Notifications gives you an alert every time that person posts something to Instagram. Chances are, someone posting something like this makes money off of your likes (or wants to). In their own self-interest, they want you to see all of their posts. It's kind of a desperate, needy ask — and unnecessary. Their posts aren't just going to instantly disappear from your feed, whether you turn on Post Notifications or not. If you want to be notified every time they post an image, that's great, but you shouldn't turn on Post Notifications thinking that's the only way you're going to see that person's posts.

What Can I Do?

For now, nothing. If you have your normal, chronological Instagram timeline, continue 'gramming as usual. If your account is part of the beta test, the only thing you can do is use the app, and perhaps provide Instagram with feedback about the experience if prompted. When the new timeline does roll out widely, it would be highly unlikely that Instagram would push it out without an option to switch the change off or on in the app's settings. That would be social suicide, if there ever were such a thing.

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