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Meta's attempt to ditch chronological feeds gains negative feedback

Users opt for TikTok amidst non-chronological feeds

By Jean Valjean July 28, 2023
Users show strong disapproval for non-chronological feeds.
Users show strong disapproval for non-chronological feeds.

A groundbreaking science project, backed by Meta, shed light on the impact of chronological feeds on user behaviour during the 2020 US presidential election campaign. 

For three months, a select group of nearly 7,200 US adults on Facebook and 8,800 on Instagram were treated to a distinctive experience, where the newest posts appeared based on the clock, rather than being influenced by algorithms to show relevant content.

The project's primary focus was to examine how Facebook and Instagram influenced people's political attitudes during the heated election campaign.

An unexpected finding emerged from the study, revealing users' reactions to chronological feeds. 

Those who were served time-ranked posts grew disinterested more quickly, leading them to explore alternative platforms like YouTube and TikTok.

While the experiment aimed to contribute empirical data to the ongoing debate surrounding the role of social media in shaping political choices and potential partisan-driven violence, the revelation of users' dissatisfaction with chronological feeds has garnered considerable attention.

Instagram brought back the chronological option in 2021, following its removal in 2016, which had sparked vocal objections from users. 

Similarly, Facebook also reintroduced this feature. The move came in response to users' preferences.

While some users appreciate the chronological option, these latest findings suggest that displaying posts in chronological order may actually lead people to log off the platform. 

New data on Meta users' preference for chronological feeds has emerged, coinciding with Instagram's recent addition of a reverse chronological feed option to its Twitter-like app, Threads. 

Facebook spokesperson Corey Chambliss mentioned that the service regularly implements changes and enhancements to improve its offerings.