Popular photo-sharing platform Instagram is set to introduce a new feature that may come in handy for users desperate to catch up on everything that appears in their news feeds.
Most social media sites, including Instagram, have ditched chronological order when displaying content in the news feeds, so this makes it difficult for users to know whether they have seen everything available to them when scrolling through the sites. Instagram updated its algorithms to leave chronology behind in the summer of 2016, so users have been getting used to posts being in a random order for almost two years.
The lack of a specific order could be one of the main causes of excessive scrolling on these sites that scientists and experts suggest is unhealthy when it comes to online behaviour.
Instagram is now planning to add a feature that would let its users know when they have seen all content they have yet to see. This will give some peace of mind to those users who have the ‘fear of missing out’.
The feature is currently in testing and sample users receive a notification mid-feed that says:
“You’re All Caught Up – You’ve seen all new post from the past 48 hours.”
As it is still in the testing phase, the company has not yet released full details about it, including information about how it works and, more importantly, whether it means that users have seen every piece of content posted by their followers in the last 48 hours, or just the posts that the Instagram algorithms decide are the most important to the user.
This is the first time that Instagram has publicly announced a feature with focus on the “time well spent” notion put forward by Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Instagram’s parent company Facebook. Zuckerberg has been vocal about prioritising the wellbeing of users and in the last week, it was discovered that Instagram is preparing a second feature that would also let users know how long they are spending in the app.
This second feature is known as ‘Usage Insights’ and would show users how their time is being spent. This could prompt users to become more aware about how much time they are spending on social sites, and help them to spend their time more responsibly, which could lead to a more positive social media experience. This feature is yet to launch and is believed to be released after the ‘Caught Up’ feature.