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Instagram’s Algorithm Kept Resurfacing Optimistic Pro-Hillary Posts After She Lost

Instagram's algorithm reorders posts to put the ones it thinks people will care about most at the tops of their feeds.

Posted on November 9, 2016, at 5:41 p.m. ET

For some Instagram users, scrolling through their feeds after the election results felt a bit like time travel.

When some people opened the app last night and this morning, they saw optimistic posts about casting historic votes for Hillary Clinton with their daughters by their sides at the top of their feeds — at the same time as or even after the election was being called in favor of Donald Trump.

Instagram introduced a new algorithm in March to organize feeds according to what people might be most interested in looking at, rather than chronological order.


Dear @instagram, please come up with a 'newest first' option. These optimistic Hillary posts are rubbing salt in the wound. #USelection

non-chronological instagram is killing me. the excited and hopeful posts from yesterday mixed with today's mourning is just too much.

The scenario shows how Instagram's algorithm left it behind on the news on a day when people were glued to social media as election results poured in. It also reflects how social media has increasingly become a partisan echo chamber that affirms it users' beliefs while shielding them from opposing viewpoints.

.@instagram really f*d it up removing chronological feed. Impossible to stay in touch or up to date when first posts still say "go vote"

Again @instagram continues to show me happy Hillary voters from 24+ hours ago. Algorithms matter, damn it!

Days like today are really making me wish @instagram still had a real time feed. Seeing the hopefulness in everyone's ballot pics is rough.

tbh instagram'a non-chronological feed popping up asinine voting selfies from "before" is way more depressing rn


A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.