How the Instagram Algorithm Works [Content Made Simple]

Issue #224: Facebook and Trump, Khaby Lame is the everyman of the internet, and more.

Khaby Lame, the Everyman of the Internet



Mr. Lame’s meteoric rise as a digital creator is especially noteworthy because his work lacks the polished production value associated with the most famous TikTok stars of today, many of whom have been embraced by Hollywood. He didn’t find success through joining a collab house with other 20-somethings, or by relying on artificial growth like buying followers or views. His rise has been entirely organic.

The secret to Mr. Lame’s success is his universal exasperated everyman quality. “His content almost debunks or mocks the overproduced trends that happen across social media, whether it’s life hacks or other things like that,” said Samir Chaudry, a founder of The Publish Press, a newsletter covering the creator economy. “He almost represents this authenticity over production. I think that’s very appealing at scale to people, this feeling of someone not trying too hard, it’s something that feels authentic.”


I have come across Khaby’s videos a number of times when I’ve been scrolling my For You Page. His videos are really funny, and he is a master of his genre of content on TikTok. I am a huge fan of long profiles on interesting people, so I loved this coverage of him in the NYT. A great read.


Link #1: Five questions posed by Facebook’s two-year ban on Donald Trump

I love Abby’s writing, and this is a good analysis of the Facebook-and-Trump situation. Helpful thoughts here.

On Friday, Facebook announced that it would suspend former president Donald Trump from the social network for two years, until at least January 7, 2023, and said he would “only be reinstated if conditions permit.”

The announcement comes in response to recommendations last month from Facebook’s recently created Oversight Board. Facebook had hoped that the board would decide how to handle Trump’s account, but while it upheld the company’s initial decision to ban Trump from the platform for inciting violence on January 6, it punted the long-term decision back to executives in Palo Alto.

Link #2: Ten Years of Data Breaches in One Infographic

Just a wild infographic. Best to assume data is never actually “secure.”

This isn’t a comprehensive list of every breach in history — it’s a safe bet we don’t know about some yet — but it’s a good survey of the login credentials available on the internet today. We’ve included a cumulative scale marker to give a sense of the full scope. We were a little surprised to find that the database contains more usernames than there are human beings alive on Earth. Of course, with more than 500 separate breaches, there’s ample opportunity for human beings to double up on leaked accounts but the scale of compromised information is still staggering.

Link #3: Shedding More Light on How Instagram Works

Always good to pay attention when platforms like Instagram pull back the curtain on how they actually work.

One of the main misconceptions we want to clear up is the existence of “The Algorithm.” Instagram doesn’t have one algorithm that oversees what people do and don’t see on the app. We use a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its own purpose. We want to make the most of your time, and we believe that using technology to personalize your experience is the best way to do that.


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