Instagram announced users can follow hashtags in a similar way they followed profiles. The company’s algorithm will bring posts with that hashtags to user feed once followed.
If a user engages with the posts having few hashtags by liking or commenting on them, it will search for similar content and present it on the user’s feed. Users will able to follow hashtags through Explore or tapping on the hashtags, which are already present on other posts.
A separate button is placed above all hashtag posts to facilitate users to follow the desired hashtag. If there is a post that users do not like, they can use that button to unlike the post. However, this will not unfollow the tag, but help the service to present posts that users find appealing.
Matthew Ogle led the team that introduced new feature at Instagram. He worked at Spotify and Last.fm. He outlined there are many similarities in Spotify’s Discover Weekly and Instagram’s new follow-hashtag feature.
Ogle told The Verge, “Discover Weekly wasn’t about teaching an algorithm to understand and then recommend music. We taught an algorithm to look at what the community was already doing with this building block, the playlist, and to take the best of what the community was doing and extend it in a new direction.”
He added, “Hashtags are kind of the same way. You have something that is working organically on the platform, how do we add just enough additional structure so that more people can participate.”
With the update, the Explore feed became personalized and would display the posts a user likes.