Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How to Complain to Instagram

It was only in March that Instagram announced that they would start organising posts in the app's feed by an algorithm. In their announcement on their blog, Instagram said, "We’re going to take time to get this right and listen to your feedback along the way. You’ll see this new experience in the coming months." While many, many Instagram users expressed outrage at the announcement, many of us took some solace in that Instagram was "...going to take time" and we wouldn't see it until "...the coming months."

Unfortunately in the past few weeks Instagram users around the world began noticing that their feeds were no longer in reverse chronological order. Last week Instagram users in the United States (myself among them) noticed that their feeds were suddenly no longer in reverse chronological order. As might be expected, there has been a good deal of outrage expressed to Instagram on Twitter and various other social media outlets. Many whose Instagram feeds are now apparently being sorted by an algorithm are very unhappy. In an article published two weeks ago Instagram told the website Bustle that they were "...testing the algorithmic update on a portion of the global community..." They also said that they do not have a date for when the feed sorted by an algorithm would be implemented across Instagram and they would let people know when it was. That having been said, given the number of complaints about Instagram on Twitter and other social media sites, one had to wonder if Instagram isn't testing a very large number of users or if they are actually rolling it out without letting users know that they are doing so...

Regardless of whether it's a test or Instagram is actually rolling it out to some users, many Instagram users are extremely angry that their feeds are no longer in reverse chronological order. It is a safe bet that many Instagram users whose feeds are now sorted by an algorithm would like to complain to Instagram. Unfortunately, Instagram does not make leaving feedback particularly obvious. Here, then, is a guide to how to complain to Instagram.

Before anything else I have to point out that if you want to leave feedback for Instagram, you'll have to do it from the app. For whatever reason you can't do it from the website. Anyway, to reach feedback you'll want to go to your profile in the app. Once you're at your profile you'll want to click on the three dots in the upper right hand corner. That will take you to the Options page, as shown in the picture below. From there you will simply scroll down to "Report a Problem" under "Support".

Once you click on "Report a Problem" there will be a little pop up listing "Report Spam or Abuse", "Send Feedback", and "Report a Problem". You'll want to click "Send Feedback".

Once you have clicked "Send Feedback" you will be taken to a page with a very long lists of things on which you can leave feedback. Fortunately "Home Feed" is at the very top of the page and already checked. Simply click the arrow in the corner and you're ready to leave feedback. While I realise many people are going to be very, very angry regarding their feeds, you should try to be as polite as possible. Speaking as someone who worked in customer service for years, polite people generally get better service than those who are rude. That having been said, you will want to state how much you dislike having your feed sorted by an algorithm and why you dislike it so much. You'll also want to be relatively brief. The shorter your message, the more likely they'll remember it. Quite simply, be polite, be firm, and be succinct.

Of course, there are going to be those people who are so angry that they simply want to delete their accounts. I really would not recommend doing this at this stage. If you delete your account then you stand the possibility of losing every photo you took on Instagram unless you have the option for saving them turned on, not to mention you will lose all of your followers. Besides, it is still possible that Instagram will reconsider implementing an algorithm or, if they do, they will give users a means of "opting out" the way that Twitter does. Unless you are simply a very casual Instagram user, I would then recommend not deleting your account. That having been said, if you are bound and  determined to delete your account, there is a way to do it. Here I have to point out that I have never actually deleted my Instagram account, so what follows is gathered from other websites. It could well have changed.

Anyway, oddly enough, unlike leaving feedback, which can only be done on the app, one can only delete one's account from the website. You can reach the "delete your account" page by clicking on "Edit Profile" and going to "Temporarily disable my account". Once you "temporarily disable your account" you will be given the chance to delete it entirely. In both cases ("Temporarily disable my account" and "Delete my account") there will be a list of reasons why you are doing so. Since "Feed Sorted by Algorithm" isn't one of them, I would recommend choosing "Something Else". Of course, once you delete your account you will want to uninstall Instagram from your phone or tablet.

At the moment it is difficult to tell what Instagram's actions are or will be. Right now they say that they are testing the algorithm, although it seems to me that it must be an awfully big test. Whether it is a test or a roll out on the QT, it would be a good idea for those of us who do not want our feeds sorted by an algorithm to make our voices known. Every time Facebook has tried to do away with the Most Recent feed, user outcry has forced them to bring it back. When Twitter announced a feed sorted by an algorithm, the furore caused by users was so great they had to make it an option. I rather suspect if enough people complain to Instagram, then they will have to keep a feed in reverse chronological available.

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