Social Media

How to Disable Algorithmic Feeds on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

Social networks offer a stream of updates from your family and friends or people you follow. But the feed you see by default isn’t chronological. Instead, the social networks try to figure out what you’d like to see first, and show that instead.

However, algorithmic feeds mean you’ll miss some updates you might want to see. Which is why you should disable algorithmic them and enable chronological feeds instead. In this article, we show you how to do that on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

What Are Algorithmic Feeds?

With algorithmic feeds, the social network algorithms are predicting what you should be reading. Rather than showing you all new posts in chronological order, you’ll see what the social network predicts you want to see.

To achieve this, social media platforms take data from posts you’ve interacted with in the past, posts currently trending well, and sponsored posts. That’s what the algorithm does.

The amount of detail social media platforms can pull is immense, they even study how long you look at certain posts for!

By showing you these posts, each social media platform tries to get you to stay on the platform for longer. The longer you stay on the platform, the more ads it can show you, and the more money it can make. That’s a fairly straightforward business model.

It’s important to make the distinction that social media companies aren’t strictly controlling what content you see. Each platform’s algorithm was designed to show you relevant content and make the platform money. You can also take advantage of the algorithm, such as on Instagram.

The algorithm will evolve by itself, and choose what posts to show you without any human oversight—there’s nobody at any social media company choosing who sees what. While the platform creates the algorithm and gives it a goal, it can’t choose the content.

The Pros of Algorithmic Feeds

There are some good intentions behind these algorithmic timelines, besides good business for the social media platform. Algorithmic feeds try to show you more of what they predict you’ll like, and often it does a fairly good job. You may discover new content you wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

Instagram estimates that users miss around 70 percent of their feed, which is especially painful for those trying to maximize their Instagram exposure. So, it makes sense to reorder the feed to put things you will like at the top.

This can be especially useful to catch up on notable events or posts from your favorite accounts when you haven’t logged in for a while.

Algorithmic feeds won’t cause you to miss out on any content. Both Twitter and Instagram have clarified that the algorithm only affects the order of the posts–it doesn’t hide or delete any content. So, while posts considered interesting will be shown at the top, if you keep scrolling you’ll still see every new post since you last used the app.

The Cons of Algorithmic Feeds

The biggest drawback of algorithmic feeds is that you might be looking at irrelevant content. Not-so-recent posts can crop up in an algorithmic feed, so they may no longer be relevant. For example, yesterday’s news story might have been really popular on social media so appears in the feed, but it’s not relevant anymore.

You’re also dependent on the algorithm’s intelligence. While algorithms can often predict what posts you’ll like pretty well, it doesn’t get things right all the time.

Also, you need to train the algorithm over time with your interactions on the app. If you’ve just signed up to a new social media platform, it won’t know you very well. That’s a good thing if you’re trying to reduce targeted ads on social media, but not so good if you use algorithmic feeds.

A company having control over your timeline can be an issue. Facebook, for instance, already restricts how many times a brand’s posts can appear in your News Feed. You might like the MakeUseOf Facebook page, but that doesn’t mean you’ll see all updates from it in your timeline.

Of course, the business model of social networks is dependent upon ads. Algorithmic feeds give social networks the power to insert ads in the right order on your timeline. With the information social media platforms have, these ads can be scarily relevant.

There’s also one argument that social media platforms’ algorithmic feeds can cause addiction to the apps.

One final blow comes to content creators and businesses. If you schedule posts at a certain time every day, there’s no guarantee that your audience will see them at that time. This can particularly affect companies trying to run social media promotions.

How to Disable Twitter’s Algorithmic Feed

Of the three social networks, Twitter undoubtedly offers the easiest way to switch from an algorithmic news feed to a chronological one. The process is exactly the same for both desktop and mobile devices.

  1. Head to the Home section on Twitter.
  2. Tap the Sparkle icon in the top right-hand corner.
  3. Tap See Latest Tweets Instead to switch to a chronological feed. You can change this back at any point.
  4. Twitter will automatically refresh your feed to show tweets in a chronological order.

How to Change the Instagram Feed Order

Since Instagram switched to an algorithmic feed in 2017, the platform didn’t offer any way to switch back to chronological order until 2022. Instagram once again offers a chronological timeline option.

To access the chronological timeline, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Instagram app.
  2. Tap the Instagram logo in the top-left corner.
  3. From the dropdown, select Following.
  4. This will open up a new feed for everyone you follow’s posts in chronological order.

Of course, you can still view any Instagram account’s posts and Stories in the most recent order by visiting their page. You can also set up a notification for any account so that Instagram notifies you when they upload a new Post, Story, or Live Video.

That can help you keep up with some favorites in a timely manner. Keeping up with only important notifications is a good way to optimize your Instagram feed for better mental health.

How to Disable Facebook’s Algorithmic Feed

The first social network to go for an algorithmic feed, Facebook stuck with it for a while. But Facebook does give users the option to switch back to seeing posts in chronological order.

The option isn’t easy to find, but it will switch your feed over. On desktop devices, follow these steps:

  1. Head to the News Feed section on Facebook.
  2. In the left-hand Suggested column, you may notice Most Recent immediately. Click it.
  3. If not, head to the bottom and click See more.
  4. Keep scrolling until you see Most recent. Click it.
  5. When you click on Most recent, your news feed will switch over to chronological order.

It’s more or less the same process to switch over to mobile devices:

  1. Head to the News Feed section on Facebook.
  2. Tap on the Menu hamburger button in the bottom-left corner.
  3. Scroll down until you reach See more, just above the Help & Support tab.
  4. Scroll down a little further until you find Most recent.
  5. Once you tap Most recent, Facebook will take you to a separate News Feed in chronological order

It’s worth noting that you’ll have to choose this option each time you use Facebook. Unfortunately, the platform won’t save your preference. While this is annoying, at least you get the option to change your feed order.

Choose Your Social Feed Preferences

Whether you opt for a chronological timeline or an algorithmic feed, you’ve been given the choice regarding what content you get to see.

You can personalize your social media to show you posts in the order you’d like, and improve your overall experience on the platform.

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