The changes to Instagram’s system will favor “original content” and punish content aggregators.

Instagram's new algorithm will punish aggregators and encourage "original content."


Instagram is changing the way it recommends Reels to give more weight to “original content.” This will have big effects on accounts that mostly share other people’s work, like aggregator accounts. The company is also changing how it ranks Reels to try to get smaller accounts to be shown more in the app.

The company said in a blog post that it is trying to “correct” its ranking system so that accounts with smaller followings will find it easier to get more people to follow them. “Because of how we’ve tagged content in the past, content creators with enormous followings and content aggregators that repost content have gotten more reach in requests than content creators who make actual content,” the company says. “We accept this needs to be fixed so that all content creators have a more reasonable chance of getting new audiences.”

It’s not clear how Instagram is changing its suggestions to make them “more equal,” but the company says that accounts with more users will no longer be given more attention by the system. “We show eligible content to a small group of people we think will enjoy it, even if they don’t follow the account that posted it,” the company says. The best reels are shown to a slightly larger group, then the best of these are shown to an even larger group, and so on. This is done because the public is interested in the material. The change will happen “over the coming months,” so producers might not see its results for a while but will soon.

If the app changes anything about “original content,” it might happen much faster. When Instagram finds two pieces of content that are the same, it will replace copied Reels with the “original” clip in its choices. Accounts that share reposted Reels will also get a mark that makes the original author stand out. The business says that these changes won’t affect artists who make “significant” changes, like adding voice-overs or reaction videos, or posts that are “materially edited to become a meme.”

Even worse punishments will be given to aggregator accounts that “repeatedly” share posts from other people. Instagram says that these accounts will no longer get Reel suggestions if they have shared copied content 10 times or more in the last 30 days. Most of the time, popular aggregator accounts share other users’ clips to push ad shopping links and other schemes. This change could make those accounts much less popular.

Also, keep in mind that these changes only affect Reels for now. They won’t affect any other Instagram posts. A company representative said that they would “explore expanding to other formats in the future.” Instagram has also tried to make friend numbers less important, which is reflected in these changes. Some producers are upset about this because most of their fans don’t see their posts in their feeds.

In the past few weeks, Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri has been on Threads to deal with complaints from artists who shared their account stats and asked why more of their fans don’t see their posts. Wildlife photographer Nate Luebbe, who has 142,000 Instagram followers, recently asked Mosseri why a popular post only hit about 20% of his followers. Mosseri’s answer made it sound like that’s how Instagram’s system is supposed to work.

Even though these changes are aimed at Reels in particular, they show that Meta will continue to pay attention to measures other than follower counts. People who have been building a big audience for years might be upset about that, but Meta seems to see it as a better way to make things fair for small accounts.

In 2022, Instagram changed its algorithm to give more weight to unique material. At that moment, Mosseri said he didn’t want the app to “overvalue aggregators,” even though he agreed it was hard to know “for sure” when a piece of content was original. The company is still trying to “correct” errors two years after the changes were made, so the changes may not have been enough.

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