Clearing the misconceptions about its Search algorithm, Instagram head Adam Mosseri talked about how the app’s internals work for displaying content in various sections of the platform.

He said that Instagram uses multiple algorithms to find and show relevant content to the users and also talked about shadowbanning. Whenever a user feels that his account or content is limited, they’ll be notified and shown a process of appealing to lift this restriction, says Mosseri.

Instagram Algorithms and Shadowbans

Being one of the most popular apps for entertainment and a credible revenue source for millions of creators, Instagram is often plagued with questions about how it works. While it explained its internals a number of times, the community isn’t still satisfied with the work.

Thus, the app’s CEO, Adam Mosseri, has now shown up with a deep explanation of how Instagram’s Search and Explore recommendations work. According to his blog post, Instagram uses multiple algorithms and ranking systems to suggest content to users.

Different sections like Explore, Reels, Stories, and Search have their own signals to determine how content is ranked for each user. In one example, Mosseri stated that the order of posts in your main feed will be determined by your past interactions with the person who made each post.

Further, Stories posts consider your account viewing history and “closeness,” or “how likely you are to be connected as friends or family.” Explore recommendations, on the other hand, are based on “posts you’ve liked, saved, shared, and commented on in the past” but will be shown mostly from accounts you don’t know.

Mosseri also talked about the shadow-banning activity, where some user accounts or content are limited or hidden without a clear explanation or justification. He says that Instagram is working to increase transparency in this case, like informing users whenever their content or accounts are blocked from the app’s recommendations.

This will be intimated via an “account status” feature – that will let users know if their account or some content is considered “ineligible” for recommendations. This comes with an appeals process to let you sort out with Instagram.

Though this wasn’t the first time that Instagram has been talking about transparency, years of speculation and conspiracy theories against its internal algorithms have forced the company to talk about this louder this time and directly from the CEO.


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