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Instagram finally lets you search for posts by keyword

No need to be precise with hashtags anymore.
Igor Bonifacic, @igorbonifacic
November 17, 2020
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Enhancements to Guides isn’t the only thing Instagram users can look forward to checking out today. The app has started rolling out a new, more robust search tool to users in the US, UK, Canada, Ireland and two other English-speaking countries that allows you to look for posts using keywords. Previously, Instagram’s search functionality limited you to finding specific content through hashtags and accounts. If you’re someone who wants to grow their followers, this change should ideally help with discoverability since you won’t need to be so exacting with the hashtags you add to a post.

As for how the new tool goes about surfacing the content it does, an Instagram spokesperson told The Verge the new algorithm considers several factors, including when someone shared the post, the accompanying caption and the photo or video that’s on display. Instagram also says it’s using machine learning to put forward “the highest quality content that’s relevant to you.”

The new search tool won’t let you look for terms like “QAnon” and “vaccines.” That’s something other platforms like Pinterest have been careful to control as well. It also won’t surface content related to politicians like Joe Biden and Donald Trump — though it won’t affect your ability to find their official accounts. “The search is limited to general interest topics and keywords that are within Instagram’s community guidelines,” Instagram said. It’s not the most powerful tool just yet, but at the very least, the change should go over better with people than the new dedicated shopping and Reels tabs.

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