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How Does Instagram Order Your Default Following List?

How Does Instagram Order Your Default Following List

When you check the following list on your Instagram page, you’ll notice that the list has no specific order. You must have wondered at some point how it works. Why isn’t it in the order of following? Like you, many Instagram users wonder how the list works and why it works how it works.

Aside from just wanting to know why the list is lined up in that number, sometimes people just want to know what others (like their partner, crush, or ex) are up to; who did they recently follow? Is it whom they suspect? But the order of users never helps the situation. If anything, it causes more confusion; you end up not getting the information you seek.

Though Instagram hasn’t shown how the list works, we can tell you it is all based on some kind of algorithm. You will understand better by the time you’re done reading this.

How Does Instagram Organize Default Following List?

You can now order your following list on Instagram by who followed you recently and who followed you earlier. This is how you do this:

  1. Go to your profile by tapping the profile icon on the bottom right.Tap The Profile Icon
  2. Tap following. Tap Following
  3. You will see “Sort by Default“, tap on it.Tap Sort By Default
  4. Choose the preferred option.Choose Preferred Sort Option

By choosing “earliest,” your list will appear in the order of those whom you followed first. If you select “latest,” the Instagram algorithm will order your following list according to your most recent followings.

How Is the Instagram Following List Ordered?

Several factors cause the following list to be in a particular order. The key and most relevant factors are listed below.

Factor #1: The People You Follow

When going through someone’s following list, you might observe that you have some accounts that are common to your following list. This is because you follow those accounts too. As a result of the mutual following, these accounts you both have in common will top the list of the person’s follower list.

There are times you won’t find the people you follow at the immediate top of someone’s following list. Other algorithm factors with more strength cause this; therefore, the aspect of the mutual following is displaced. That is why an account you follow might not appear at the top of the person’s following list.

Factor #2: Interaction With People You Follow

The Instagram following list is occasionally arranged based on how you interact with people you follow. Your following list is ordered based on interactions under the condition that you have at least 200 Instagram followers whose accounts you follow back. The higher your interaction with a particular user, the higher their chances of topping your following list.

When you have regular interactions with other users on Instagram, they will have their names shown at the top of your following list. It doesn’t matter if you follow them or not.

Factor #3: Geo-Location


As we mentioned earlier, your account’s follower and following list on Instagram is not listed in the same order. In the past, the list was arranged in order of occurrence, that is, in chronological order. This is no longer the case now. Instagram has made adjustments. The algorithm is structured in a way that causes the following list to stop displaying in order of occurrence.

Location can influence the algorithm of a person’s following list. The chances of an account with a location closer to yours appearing at the top of someone’s following list are high compared to one that is not.

Let’s assume you’re checking the following list of someone based in Canada, and you live in the US. If they have followers they follow back who are based in the US in a location close to yours, their account will most likely show at the top of the list. This factor works even better if such accounts have ever interacted with yours. Instagram will assume there’s a probability of you knowing the person, therefore pushing them to the top.

Factor #4: Inactiveness of Accounts

The Instagram algorithm also works in a way that the less active or inactive accounts are placed at the bottom of your following list. This factor only works when you follow a large number of people, with the minimum being 200.

By default, accounts that do not put up any posts within some weeks or months will be placed at the bottom of the list. If you have over 200 accounts you are following; the less active ones will automatically be moved to the bottom of the list.

Factor #5: Number of Posts

When an account has a large number of posts on Instagram, they have the edge over those that have less. Instagram’s algorithm places such accounts slightly above those with lesser posts. This happens because they have more content to keep you glued to their page once you visit their profile.

While Instagram can be about connecting people and having fun, it is also business! So they try to keep you on the app for as long as possible, whatever it takes, even if it means putting accounts with more posts first.


Though this article has shed light on Instagram algorithms and factors influencing them, It is essential to note that Instagram algorithms change constantly. We hope we’ve been able to feed your curiosity about how Instagram orders your default following list.


Do Stalkers Appear First on Instagram Following List?

No. A person constantly paying your profile visits to stalk you is not enough to cause your account to appear on the top of the following list. The number of times a person visits your profile alone is not part of Instagram’s algorithm for the following list. They have to do more than visit your profile, like interacting with your posts or sending DMs.

What Does Sort by Default Mean on Instagram Following List?

Here, sorting by default means to sort automatically, using the programmed or preselected sorting option rather than manually picking an option.

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