December 13, 2019

Looking Under the Hood of Instagram Explore

Human content moderation takes time, and a keen eye, to release the right creative at the right time, but in present-day, AI (Artificial Intelligence) has the ability to filter and select content for the masses. A team of engineers recently revealed in a blog post (for the first time) that Instagram’s Explore Page is using machine learning. In fact, they illustrated how they utilize a custom-made AI system that’s able to make 90 million predictions (every second!) in order to inform what gets selected anytime you click that magnifying glass button.

This coveted front page of Instagram is the place where individual or brand posts can break through their circle of followers and into an entirely public bulletin board. Since Instagram Explore was launched in 2012, a multitude of users and experts have had their myths and hacks to try to get discovered by the algorithm to get featured in this section.

However, little has been confirmed about the process of what content nuggets make it through until now. If “high-velocity experimentation” done by a machine is choosing the content we see, do we just sit back and continue scrolling? If a system is open to evolving, I think we let our content follow its lead.


-Nancy Oganezov
Senior Community Editor