How Instagram’s new algorithm might make you look like a stalker

2015 was a simpler time.

We didn’t have a raging man-child as our president, we didn’t wear wedgie bikinis, and we could carelessly scroll through our Insta feed and double-tap whatever photos we wanted, without looking like a stalker.

But nowadays, you have to be careful doing that. Because you might look like you’re lurking someone’s page.

Wait – but why does scrolling through your Insta feed in 2017 paint you as a stalker?

Allow me to explain.

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See, Instagram used to show all posts in reverse-chronological order. But it’s not doing that anymore. Now, Instagram uses an algorithm just like Facebook’s News Feed.

WTF is an algorithm? It’s basically a fancy equation that uses your previous likes and activity to predict what you want to see. So, Facebook and Instagram are showing you things that they think you’ll like, not just random updates from everyone you follow.

That means the posts you see on Instagram are no longer showing up in order. Instead, something that’s a few days old could show up at the top of your feed as if it were brand new. *GASP*

Now here’s why that’s a problem. I – like most people – scroll through my feed and like pretty much anything that comes my way. I don’t stop to take 30 seconds and consider if Chrissy’s selfie deserves my like, and I also don’t stop to double-check that Jason’s beer pong pic was posted within the last 24 hours.

And that’s the problem. Jason’s picture could be two or three days old, but it could pop up on my feed like it’s brand new and – because I’m not a psycho – I wouldn’t double check the post date before liking it.

But, by not being a psycho and double-checking the date, I look like more of a psycho!

Jason, who might have not gotten notifications from Instagram within the last 24 hours, will randomly get a ping from his iPhone that I liked his picture. Obviously, he won’t know that his picture showed up at the top of my feed, and might assume I went directly to his profile and was stalking him.

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Obviously, this is nitpicky, and some people – especially people who already get a lot of likes – wouldn’t even notice if someone randomly liked their pic from a few days ago.

But, when you’re already worried enough about your crush knowing that you’re obsessed with his existence, you probably don’t need him seeing that you’re liking the picture of him rock-climbing from four days ago.

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Instagram is really f-ing us all over these days – from influencers to plebeians like us who are just trying to check Insta without looking like a creep. 2017 is a toughie.

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