Instagram is rolling out a massive new update to its platform today. The latest update for its platform radically transforms the app’s primary feed. The service now lets users follow hashtags just like regular user accounts, and that’s quite a big deal.
Like it or not, hashtags have always been a big part of Instagram more than any other social network. Following hashtags on Instagram will let users explore more content from within their Instagram feed without needing to find new content on the Explore tab. Following a hashtag of your interest means you can stay up to date with all the latest popular posts for that hashtag on your feed. Plus, if you share your posts with certain hashtags, you also have the opportunity to reach a broader set of users if you are lucky enough. Stories from these hashtags will even show up on the top of your Instagram feed just like regular Stories from the people you follow.
The only potential problem with Instagram’s new feature is the quality of posts that are going to show up within your feed. Instagram spammers (and users) regularly abuse hashtags on their posts to try and reach as many users as they can, with some even using random hashtags on unrelated posts. Instagram says the company’s algorithm is smart enough to filter out this type of content out of your feed, so you will only really see the best content from the hashtags you follow — at least that’s what Instagram’s algorithms are designed to do. The company isn’t entirely relying on its algorithm to filter out trash content out of your feed though, and it has a huge team of people working around the clock to manually monitor content on its platform to make sure none of the inappropriate content reaches your feed.
I feel like being able to follow hashtags will transform the Instagram feed for a lot of users. As someone who doesn’t follow a lot of users on Instagram, my feed is usually quite–for lack of a better word–boring, and I sometimes have to wait hours to see a new post on my feed. But being able to follow hashtags means I will always have something fresh to look at everytime I open up the app. So maybe I will finally start opening Instagram as much as I open up Twitter or Snapchat.