Cracking the Code: Understanding Instagram’s Following List Order in 2024

Ever wondered why your Instagram following list order seems like it’s playing hide and seek? Well, it’s not really that random at all—there’s a sneaky algorithm doing its thing after all! 

So we are here to unwrap it and guide you through this Instagram following order maze. 

Now let’s uncover the secrets behind why certain profiles on Instagram pop up first on your Instagram list and decode this puzzle. 

About the Instagram Following List Order 

Have you ever gotten so bored that you ended up stalking your own Instagram profile? I know I’ve, and it’s especially while scrolling through the followers list that I’ve lost track of time. 

And that has a lot to do with the Instagram following list order. While viewing your account as if it were from someone else’s eyes, if you have also pondered over the list order, there are various tricks up its sleeve when it comes to such algorithms. 

So if you’ve noticed a different pattern to how your followers or following list is organized, you may wonder if there is any order to your followers’ list. First, let’s understand the two ways of sorting used for Instagram following order.

Sort By Default on Instagram Following List 

Understanding how Instagram’s default sorting option works helps in getting insights into the sequence of the accounts in one’s following list. While it may not follow a specific pattern, it is a result of Instagram’s algorithm taking various factors into account to enhance the overall experience on the platform. 

If you have not applied any specific sorting method to your Instagram following list to organize it, there’s a simple option of “Sort by Default.” Here’s how you can apply it with the help of this simple breakdown of steps:

  • Open the Instagram app and log in to your account.
  • Now go to your profile by clicking on the profile icon at the bottom right. 
    Click on the profile icon.
  • Now click on Following, and you’ll be able to view the list of your accounts that you follow. 
    Tap on Following.
  • So once you’re on the page, you can see that without any sorting option being applied, the default order will be in place. 
    Following list in Default order.
  • If you can see ‘Sort by Default’ with the adjacent arrows facing upwards and downwards, it means the list is in the default order.
    Sort by Default order list.

The Sort by Default feature does not involve any manual adjustments. As said earlier, it only shows the list based on the user’s interactions and activities with the accounts on their list.

Sort By Date on Instagram Following List 

Just as the name of the option suggests, sorting the Instagram following list by date allows the user to view the accounts they have started following as per the date or period of time.

This can help them see their most recently followed accounts first. By following the simple steps below, they can “Sort by Date” on the Instagram following list: 

  • Launch the Instagram app and tap on your profile icon.
    Click on the profile icon.
  • Now click on Following to see the list of accounts you follow.
    Tap on Following.
  • Once you’re on the list, you’ll be able to see the option to Sort at the top, click on it.
    Click on ‘Sort by Default.’
  • After that, choose ‘Date Followed: Latest’ from the options.
    Select ‘Date followed: Latest.’

Now your following list will be arranged according to your most recently followed accounts appearing at the top. Selecting Earliest will oppositely arrange your following list.

By making use of these flexible sorting options for the following list on Instagram order, you can customize your following list as per your preferences and your engagement with the accounts on Instagram.

What Factors Affect Instagram Followers/Following List Order?

Instagram employs a unique sorting algorithm for followers and following lists in order to enhance user experience as per the user’s preferences. 

This is also seen with Instagram’s story viewer algorithm. Even though the specifics of the algorithm remain undisclosed, it combines various factors to determine the sequence of followers and the following list. Here are some of them:

  • Mutual interaction: A major factor in influencing the order is active engagement, which includes likes, comments, shares, and direct interactions that strongly influence the order. Accounts with frequent interactions will also appear at the top of your following list.
  • Mutual followers: Those that follow you and the profile you’re viewing encourage more engagement and connections among the users.
  • Accounts you follow: The mutual and common list of followings is usually kept at the top of the list.
  • Geo-location: Location data plays a role in favoring accounts in the same region for higher replacement. It promotes an opportunity to discover local content in the community.
  • Account activity: Active accounts, posting, and engaging consistently rank higher on the following list.
  • Direct interactions and story views: Engagement through direct messages, comments, and story views signifies a strong connection. It boosts the ranking of accounts that the user interacts with directly.
  • Your recent followers: New followers experience a temporary elevation in the followers’ list, regardless of mutual following.
  • Famous accounts: The influential accounts with high followers/following gain visibility and prioritization of influential accounts is ensured.

Understanding these factors provides insight into how Instagram curates and customizes the followers and following lists, providing a personalized and engaging experience for the users.

What’s the Right Order of Instagram Following List? 

For those of you who don’t know, the way followers appear in the list also has a lot to do with how many followers you have on your Instagram account.

New account owners that have below 200 followers on Instagram can see that their followers list will appear in alphabetical order as per their profile name and not by their username.

And if there are accounts without a name, they will appear before the alphabetical list. 

So, to put it into simple words, the right order of the Instagram following list is based on how much the user has interacted with other users. If they frequently like their posts, comment, share, or exchange messages, they will appear at the top of your list.

It is like a personalized order that shows the people you connect with the most. The more you engage, the higher they will be on the list. Hence, the right order for the following list on Instagram is most likely about interactions with others on Instagram. 

Instagram’s Following List Order not Working

Before kicking off with the steps for Instagram following list order not working, let’s answer how you would spot the issue. If the following list order on Instagram is not working, it means that the order in which you would see the users as per Instagram’s algorithm is not appearing as it should.

Now, if you’re wondering why it may happen, the reason could be technical glitches or changes in Instagram’s algorithms. Here are the simple steps to address the issue and most likely get it resolved:

  • Check your internet connection 

    Poor internet connection can lead to issues with the app’s functioning. So ensure that you have a stable connection.

  • Log out and log in to Instagram 

    Try logging back into your app, as it will refresh the app and resolve minor issues like this.

  • Update the app

    Make sure that you have the latest version of the app installed, as an older version may have bugs and thus hamper the Following list order’s working.

  • Clear the cache and reinstall the app 

    It is possible that the accumulated cache could be causing issues with the proper functioning of the app. Clear the cache and reinstall the Instagram app.

  • Contact Instagram support

    In case the previous points don’t help, the last resort is reaching out to Instagram support via its app or website.

But now that the issue is resolved, what could be the possible reasons leading to or contributing to it? Let’s find out in the following section.

Perks of Instagram Following List Order Algorithm

There is no doubt that Instagram following list order algorithm makes it easier for users to have a simplified and enhanced experience. It helps with understanding the engagement users have with their following and followers’ lists. 

Some of its benefits are as follows:

  • Provides a personalized experience. 
  • Enhances engagement by strategically boosting visibility.
  • The order prioritizes close connections and keeps you updated with the latest added users. 
  • The users experience reduced spam as the algorithm filters out accounts that may have been added mistakenly. 
  • Prioritizing users that one has engaged and interacted with the most provides promotion of active users.

Woman’s Hack to See Ex-Boyfriend’s Following Goes Viral

If we’ve to talk about the history of the viral hack, let’s go back a little to where it first began and who suggested the whole idea in the first place. 

After Instagram discontinued its Following Activity tab back in 2019, users could no longer see what posts the people added with them were liking or who they started to follow recently.

Not long ago, a social media influencer discovered a hack and shared it on Instagram, with her followers captioning the post “Thank me later.” The Miami-based model Kornelija Slunjski shared the trick on her Instagram reel and spilled the tea on how the Instagram algorithm worked. 

She explained the trick, starting by asking users to go to their Safari browser and then head over to their partner’s profile. Then she explains that they can go to their Following, and it will show the list of accounts in chronological order and not based on the interactions. So if you were wondering ‘Is Instagram following in chronological order’, here, it’s not the case.

Following list on Safari browser.

In the shared reel, she further goes on to say, “If he says it was a boys’ night, why’s he following five new girls? Why, though?” Well, big kudos to her for her detective skills! 

Suggested read: How to See Who Doesn’t Follow You Back on Instagram Using 2 Easy Methods


What’s the order of someone’s following on Instagram?

The sequence of Instagram’s following list primarily depends on regular interactions on the platform and accounts that one usually engages with the most — be it via liking, commenting, or messaging.

Are there any Instagram following list order extensions?

There are various extensions like IG Follower Export tool and IG Export that help users keep track of their huge followings and easily scrape and export them.

How do I see who my boyfriend recently followed on Instagram?

To see who your boyfriend recently followed on Instagram, go to his profile and tap on ‘Following.’ Instagram now lets you sort this list, so you can select ‘Sort by Default’ > ‘Date Followed: Latest’ to see the newly added following.

Can we find Instagram following list stalkers?

While Instagram doesn’t directly reveal your stalkers, the order of your story’s viewers can give you an idea. The viewers’ sequence can indicate that they might be following you closely due to their interest in your profile. 

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