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Instagram changes its ranking to favor original content

Instagram is making a few new creator-focused changes to its platform, which Instagram Director Adam Mosseri says are aimed at “making sure credit goes to those who deserve it.”

What’s new is made up of three changes: product tags are now available to everyone, so you can tag a product in your post; you can assign yourself to a category like “Photographer” or “Rapper” and have that category appear whenever you’re tagged in a post; and Instagram will start promoting original content more heavily on the platform.

“If you create something from scratch,” Mosseri said in a video explaining the new features, “you should get more credit than if you share something you found from someone else. We We’re going to try to do more to try to give more value to original content, especially over reposted content. Valuing original content isn’t new, of course, but Mosseri said Instagram is going to be leaning more in that direction. .

Translation? Please, please, please, just stop posting your favorite TikToks on Reels. We implore you.

Meta has made it clear that it sees Facebook and Instagram as creator-focused platforms, rather than tools for people to connect with their friends. So both platforms have invested in shopping tools, ways for creators to build audiences, and many other things that they hope will inspire creators to stop being TikTokers and YouTubers and start start being Instagrammers and Facebookers.

The reels, in particular, are at the heart of this effort. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg called the shortened videos “by far our fastest growing content format», and they are now available on Facebook and Instagram. But anyone who uses Reels knows it can look like a TikTok clone, often with the same content just reposted — the TikTok logo and all — for that matter. A way for Instagram to discourage this practice? Bury it in the filing. And that’s exactly what Mosseri seems to want to do.

As for how Instagram will determine what counts as original, Mosseri only said it’s difficult and “we’ll iterate over time.” The change is likely to be a huge problem for aggregator accounts, many of which are hugely popular sources of memes and trends but are often accused of stealing content and credit from creators. “As we look more into recommendations, it becomes increasingly important not to overvalue aggregators,” Mosseri tweeted, “because that would be bad for creators, and therefore bad for Instagram in the long run.”

The push for original content on Meta’s social products isn’t new, nor is the fact that the most popular content on Facebook and Instagram tends to be plagiarized. Meta platforms have the biggest following, but TikTok, Twitter and others tend to be where new memes and trends are created. If Instagram and Facebook want to be successful creator platforms, they’ll have to find a way to turn the tide. And starting by turning its most powerful knob – the ranking algorithm that decides what billions of people see every day – is a pretty serious first step. Another idea would be to pay creators more, but given that Meta seems to be reducing its Reels payments, that might not happen any time soon.

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