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Instagram’s Explore Tab

As a constant Instagram user, I was always curious about Explore, where the app suggests images and videos I might like. I could see many types of posts: those are uploaded by people whom I do not follow but have some mutual, those related to my interests, such as golf, food, and fashion, and even those that I’m not really familiar with. Explore, the infinite and constantly refreshing grid of imagery, is far more complex than what we say, “if you liked that, you will also like that,” as a few of the suggestions are not even connected with our interests or relationships.

This article explains about the working algorithms of Explore feature in Instagram. The system uses a combination of our own behavior – which pictures we’ve liked, who we follow, what kinds of images we upload, and data about the people we follow, including what types of posts they like – to narrow millions of images down to just a few hundred. In this case, Strong Triadic Closure that we covered in Networks class works: if A has a strong connection with B and C, then there will be at least a weak connection between B and C. In Instagram’s realm, it means that if A follows B and C, then B will like the photo posted by C or vice versa so that the posts of C will appear in B’s Explore tab and vice versa. Instagram’s algorithm, therefore, shows the complex, multilayered social web between users and seeks to learn how those people interact with one another. Moreover, the system tries to rank the images in terms of how likely they are relevant to by analyzing our past behavior on Instagram. The system also attempts to introduce another unfamiliar culture to us. For example, if we are interested in rock band, Explore shows a new band or show in another part of the world. Explore tab has becoming more advanced as the company added videos and trending tags and viewing images by location.


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