Instagram’s Bait and Switch

Instagram’s Bait and Switch
May 11, 2016 Connor Gallic

Instagram launched a new version of its app this morning, touting a much debated change to its logo.

instagram-new logo


The logo and version change effectively sparked a firestorm online that served to divert attention away from a highly anticipated, and anxiety inducing modification made by the Facebook-owned social network to its algorithm. The new change modifies users’ feeds from chronological display, to an algorithmic based display which many users are concerned, will reduce their ability to engage their audience.

They have a real reason to be worried. A similar change in Facebook’s algorithm decimated the organic reach that posts made by large brands and influencers received and limited it to a very small audience – unless of course the brand paid Facebook for additional exposure.

HYPR, the world’s largest influencer database and search engine constantly tracks influential accounts on every social network, including on the instagram feed and has discovered that despite its promises, Instagram quietly elected to introduce the change to a small percentage of users – probably in an effort to evaluate its impact on their key KPI’s without attracting too much attention.

In doing so, Instagram is ignoring a petition signed by over 300,000 users, asking them to keep the platform chronological . The change may significantly impact how brands and influencers are represented on the platform, and how hard they have to work to reach their audience. Brands and influencers that have built follower lists of hundreds of thousands or millions of fans can expect to see a significant reduction in their organic reach once this change is completely rolled out.

Just weeks ago, Instagram’s Founder and CEO tried to calm his users by saying:

“If it’s one thing we do really well as a company, it’s that we take big change slowly and deliberately and bring the community along with us,” he said. “It’s not like people will wake up tomorrow and have a different Instagram”



Turns out that’s not 100% true.


HYPR captured a sample of what the new feed looks like for an affected user. As you can see, a 7 minute old post is displayed ahead of a 3 minute old one, probably due to a decision by the Instagram algorithm that it is more relevant to the user.


Screen Shot instagram