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Instagram Reels is getting a chronological feed, but you probably can’t use it

Published Aug 22nd, 2023 12:33PM EDT
Instagram Reels update in April of 2023
Image: Instagram

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If you’re ever watching Instagram Reels but wanted to only see Reels from people you follow from newest to oldest, you’re about to have that option… if you live in Europe.

Up until today, while users were able to sort their main feed on Facebook and Instagram chronologically, Reels and Stories have been controlled completely by Meta’s algorithms. With the Digital Services Act coming into full effect, the company is being forced to make some changes for users in EU countries that give them more control over their experience on the apps.

In a press release, Nick Clegg, Meta’s President of Global Affairs, confirmed that the Digital Services Act is coming into full effect for companies like Meta later this month in the European Union.

Later this month, the European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA), one of the most comprehensive pieces of internet regulation, will begin to fully apply to Facebook, Instagram and a number of other tech platforms and services. It is a big deal not just for European tech companies but for all tech companies that operate in the EU, and it will have a significant impact on the experiences Europeans have when they open their phones or fire up their laptops. 

Due to that, Clegg has announced that Reels and Stories on both Facebook and Instagram are getting an update for users in the European Union. Now, users will be able to view Reels and Stories from only accounts that they follow. The content will also, instead of being sorted by an algorithm, be shown in chronological order from newest to oldest.

In addition to Reels and Stories, the update will also allow users to elect to view Search results based only on the words they enter, rather than Meta using personalized data to surface additional or more targeted results. The company is also making its reporting tools more easy to access:

For a number of years, in addition to reporting options for content that might violate our Community Standards and Guidelines, we’ve also had dedicated reporting tools for illegal content. We’ve now made those tools even easier for people to access. And while we already notify people when we remove a piece of their content, and typically give them the chance to appeal, we’ll now provide this information to people in the EU for a broader range of content moderation decisions. This includes when we apply feature limits to people’s accounts and when we restrict content for violating local law. 

Threads, an app by Instagram
Threads, an app by Instagram Image source: José Adorno for BGR

While users in the EU are getting the benefit of more control over their experience on Facebook and Instagram, the features are only coming to users in those countries at this time. While we could say this is a good move for Meta, it is obviously one that is being forced upon it by regulation, so the company doesn’t get much credit for this one, especially since it has not made any promise to bring the same features to any countries outside of Europe.

Thankfully, the company is ahead of its game with its latest product, Threads. Instagram quickly added a Following feed weeks after its launch that also shows content chronologically. Speaking of Threads, it appears that we are finally getting a web app this week.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.