Have you ever looked at your followers or following list on Instagram and wondered what the order means? If so, you aren’t alone. Instagram users are curious about how the follower and following lists are ordered and why certain names are at the top.
Instagram has been quiet about how exactly these lists are ordered. The prevailing opinion is that the order is based on Instagram’s algorithm. Learning how this algorithm works may help you better understand why the users you follow are listed in the order that they’re in.
The order of users who like your posts is also a point of confusion for Instagram users. The list is not in the order that they liked the post chronologically. It’s likely that this order is also influenced by the Instagram algorithm, which looks at your activity and ranks based on what seems to be most interesting to you.
Instagram Followers Order
The list of your Instagram followers is chronological. At the top of the list, you’ll find your most recent followers. The very bottom of your followers list you can find your first followers (if they still follow you). There is not much to learn from the order of your Instagram followers, and the order does not indicate how much you interact with one another.
Some users have reported that their followers are listed alphabetically; this may be the case if you have under 200 followers.
Instagram Following List Order
If you look at your “Following” list on Instagram, you will notice that it is not chronological. You may also notice that the first few names that you follow are your closest friends or accounts that you regularly interact with online. The following list on Instagram is not ordered chronologically by who you followed most recently, although the followers list is chronological. It’s unclear why one list is chronological and the other is not.
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Instagram has not confirmed the reason for the following list order. Most users believe, however, that it ranks your following list based on interactions on the platform. The Instagram algorithm that determines the order of posts on your feed is based on your interests, your relationships, and recency. If the algorithm is the culprit for the following list order as well, we can assume that the list is also based on accounts that interest you, accounts you have a relationship with, and perhaps also who you followed recently.
Do Stalkers Appear First on Instagram Following List?
Some Instagram users have wondered if the list ranks your “stalkers”. Stalkers, in the social media sense, are users who regularly like your pictures, view your stories, or check up on your profile in general. Instagram does not alert us about who visits our profile or “stalks” us, so it is hard to tell if the following list is based on these interactions.
The Instagram algorithm does, however, account for your relationships. These online relationships are a two-way street: the algorithm looks at whose posts you like and engage with, but it also measures who likes and engages with your posts. For this reason, it is possible that users who “stalk” your Instagram could be ranked higher on your following list.
Until Instagram reveals exactly how the following list is ordered, we’ll simply have to keep guessing. Learn more about the Instagram algorithm to determine if that explanation makes sense for the order of your following list.
Instagram Likes Order
Another list that Instagram users are curious about is the likes on each individual post. If you click on the total number of likes on a picture, you can view all the users who liked that post. The list is not in the order that they liked it, however. You can confirm this by looking at your notifications or by paying extra attention while the likes roll in.
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So how are likes ordered on your post? Again, Instagram has not confirmed why likes appear in the order that they do. Popular opinion attributes the order of likes to the algorithm as well; just like the order of posts on your feed, likes are believed to be in order of the users who you engage with the most.
The algorithm explanation still allows for the theory that your top likers are also “stalkers,” perhaps who have liked your pictures so regularly that they are at the top of the list. This is possible, since the algorithm is based on your relationships with other users. It’s also possible that the top users on your likes list are those that you “stalk”, as the algorithm may have noticed that you engage with those users the most. Both explanations are feasible, and it’s most likely a combination of the two.
The one or two names that appear below your picture are also most likely the users you engage with most on Instagram. Instagram displays what it thinks you most want to see, so it will show you the users you interact with first for your likes where it says, “Liked by Your Best Friend and ### others”.
For now, we can conclude that Instagram ranks our followers on following and likes lists based on the new algorithm. Until Instagram releases more information on how these lists are ordered, we can’t know for sure if that one person is really stalking us or not.