Since Instagram Stories first came onto the scene, there’s been one burning question on my mind: Why do certain friends’ faces appear in the bottom left hand corner of my own Insta Stories? And, crucially, how should I interpret the recurrence of these three particular faces?
If you’re not quite sure what I’m talking about, take a look at the most recent Story you uploaded to Instagram. You’ll notice three little circles at the bottom left hand corner of the Story just above the words “Seen by 100 people” (or however many friends viewed it).
Anyone who lives their life on the ‘gram will know that it’s not always the same three faces that pop up. But, if you have an Instagram crush, the appearance of one particular face in the corner of your story can be a source of intrigue. Do they like me back? Are they looking at my Story as often as I look at theirs? I, for, one, have wondered if the never-ending presence of my crush’s face is a sign that the feeling may well be mutual. And, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably wondered this, too.
Mashable spoke to Instagram Product Lead Julian Gutman and Design Lead Jill Nussbaum to find out how Instagram feeds work and why these three faces keep popping up on our Stories.
“It’s personalised to you, so it’s about how you interact,” Gutman explained. He added that this isn’t the first time he’s been asked this.
“We often hear this about the crush use case,” he said. “They’ll say: ‘Oh I saw them either in the three faces or my Story’s viewer list. Are they looking at my stuff a lot? Is that why?'”
Well, we hate to break it to you, but that might not be the case.
“And it’s often that you’re looking at their stuff a lot. It’s really personalised to your behaviour,” Gutman said. So, your crush’s face may well be appearing because you’ve been interacting with him via DMs or comments. But, it could also just be because you visit their profile a lot.
Instagram uses machine learning to personalise a variety of features on your Instagram account like your feed. Per Gutman, that means using “a technology that uses historical data to make predictions about the future.” Instagram analyses people’s historical usage to make predictions about what posts are relevant to you. And, in the case of your Story, about which faces you’re most interested in seeing in your list of Story viewers.
Sorry folks, this one Instagram feature might not be able to tell you much about your crush’s feelings. Sigh.