Instagram Chronological Order returns: Here's why and when

There was a point in the distant past when social networks, at least those that displayed any sort of "timeline," showed a chronological list of what others have been doing as they happened. Those times are long gone, however, and the latest generation of social media users have been raised to accept the status quo of "algorithmic feeds" as the best way to keep on top of things. For years, Instagram fought against the backlash and criticisms of that switch, but it is taking a single Senate inquiry to finally make it change its mind and bring the much-requested feature back.

Social networks, including Instagram, Twitter, and especially Facebook, have been advocating this algorithm-based feed system for years. They argue that it's easy for users to actually miss out on what their close friends are posting because they've been buried by some other acquaintance's flood of tweets or photos. Social media platforms believed they could offer a better experience by putting more relevant content from more relevant people at the top.

Part of the problem with that new system was that it was also easy to actually miss out on what may be interesting because the system didn't deem it to be relevant enough. In the beginning, some people even mistook posts as new when they were actually made days or even weeks before. The biggest beef that users have, however, is the black magic that happens behind those algorithms. Some even suspect these big social media companies of making those algorithms biased towards content that will generate them more traffic and more profits.

The latter is really at the center of the recent controversy hounding Instagram, particularly as it relates to the mental health of its younger users. Its secret algorithms may have played a part in not only keeping teens hooked but also getting them stuck on the same things, even if they might be harmful to their way of thinking. Body image, violence, and the like are just some of the topics that have been brought to light in recent revelations that brought about this current congressional investigation.

After years of fighting against it, Instagram is finally giving ground and will be bringing back its chronological feed. It makes it clear, however, that it isn't switching back to that system but will add it as an option for those who prefer it. Twitter has long given its users such a choice, offering options for its time-based feed and its "top tweets."

Instagram, however, is also working on a Favorites system that will let you specify who you really want to see at the top of your timelines. These features won't be coming at least until the first quarter of 2022, but those who have been waiting for these for years probably won't mind waiting a few more months.