Within the last few weeks you may have noticed Instagram has introduced a new way to interact with hashtags. You can now follow #hashtags in the same way that you would follow an account. Hashtags have been a major part of Instagram since it’s early days. You could previously search for #hashtags, but it was time consuming and had to be curated. Now, with the ‘Hashtag Following’ feature Instagram will pick and choose from an algorithm the top posts from the specific #hashtag.
They will be posted on your feed similar to a post from someone you are following. Instagram will assume you want more of similar posts when you like and comment on the posts with the curated hashtag. If you are not liking posts with similar photos, then Instagram’s algorithm will change it up until the algorithm finds something you are engaging and interacting with on the feed.
This new feature has the potential for users to go beyond their everyday feed. Users will get a new insight to people on Instagram and a chance to dive deeper into niche communities that interest them. To weed out spam and inappropriate posts, Instagram will use automated and manual flagging to block the authors. If there is a post you do not like you can down vote the post by requesting that Instagram does not show the post for this hashtag. After a few days, your hashtags will be “finely tuned to your taste” as said by Ben Popper from ‘The Verge.’
Don’t worry about your feed being full of every #hashtag used from the ones you follow. Not every post will be moved to your feed, just the most popular; similar to the “top nine.” Everyone can see your #hashtag follows so be aware of that! You don’t want to go follow a bunch of super-embarrassing #hashtags for the world to see your quirky interests!