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This social media network knows you better than you do

This social media network knows you better than you do
PHOTO COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

Yet another social media news feed is about to change in a big way. When sites like Facebook and, more recently, Twitter change the way you see your friends' posts, it doesn't usually go well.

Facebook made its first big change to its News Feed in 2009, changing the posts from reverse chronological order, to one where algorithms determine which posts you'd be most interested in seeing. Countless users openly and angrily complained about the change, and many still do.

Now, Facebook determines which of your friends' posts you'd like to see first. Twitter, which has a rolling news feed of 140-character posts, is now experimenting with highlighting posts it thinks you'll find most interesting, rather than the one that was most recently posted.

Now, Instagram is changing its news feed. The Facebook-owned social media network with 400 million users, is using an algorithm and machine learning to determine which posts you'd be most interested in. Note: Instagram users post more than 60 million photos on the site every day.

The idea is that you'll see important posts, even if they were posted hours ago. For example, if your friend halfway around the world got engaged while you were sleeping, that would be the first post you'd see.

"On average, people miss about 70% of the posts on their Instagram feed," Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom told the New York Times. "What this is about is making sure that the 30% you see is the best 30%."

Still, Instagram has learned a lesson from news feed revolts in the past. It's taking this change really slow.

It's testing the switch with just a single-digit percentage of its users, most of whom live outside the United States. If the tests go well, with positive feedback from its users, you should expect to see changes to your Instagram feed in the not-too-distant future.

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