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

Besides simply wanting to know why the list is lined up in that order, people sometimes want to know what other people are up to (like their partner, crush, or ex); who have they recently followed? Is it someone they suspect?

But the order of the users never helps the situation. On the contrary, it creates more confusion; you end up not getting the information you are looking for. So how does Instagram order the list of followers?

Quick response: Instagram orders your list of followers based on an algorithm that takes into account many simple aspects. Factors contributing to ordering are mutual followings, user interactions, your location, account activity or inactivity, and the number of posts and other content. These items make up the order of someone’s followings list.

Although Instagram has not shown how the list works, we can tell you that it is based on an algorithm. You will understand better when you finish reading this article.

How is the list of people followed on Instagram classified?

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

Factor 1: The people you follow

When browsing through someone’s follower list, you may observe that some accounts are common to your follower list, which means you follow all two such accounts.

Due to your mutual following, these accounts will be at the top of the list of people you follow.

Sometimes the people you follow are not immediately at the top of the list of those who follow them. Other more powerful algorithmic factors are the cause; therefore, the aspect of mutual follow-up is misplaced.

This is why an account you follow may not appear at the top of the list of people you follow.

Factor 2: Interaction with the people you follow

The list of people you follow on Instagram is sometimes organized according to how you interact with the people you follow. Your follower list is ranked by interactions provided 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 appearing at the top of your list of followers.

When you have regular interactions with other users on Instagram, their name will appear at the top of your followers list. It doesn’t matter whether you follow them or not.

Factor 3: Geolocation

As we mentioned earlier, the list of followers and followers of your account on Instagram is not ranked in the same order. Previously, the list was sorted in order of appearance, that is to say in chronological order.

The chronological order is no longer the case. Instagram has made adjustments. The algorithm is structured in such a way that the following list is no longer displayed in order of occurrence.

Location can influence the algorithm of a person’s follower list. The chances that an account with a location closer to yours will appear at the top of the list of people who follow are high compared to an account that is not.

Suppose you check the list of people followed by a person in Canada, while you live in the United States. If that person has followers they follow back that are based in the United States, in a location close to yours, their account will most likely appear at the top of the list.

This factor works even better if these accounts have already interacted with yours. Instagram assumes there’s a chance you know the person and therefore puts them at the top of the list.

Factor 4: Account Inactivity

Instagram’s algorithm also works so that less active (or inactive) accounts are placed at the bottom of your follower list. This factor only works when you follow a large number of people, the minimum being 200.

By default, accounts that do not post any messages for weeks or months are placed at the bottom of the list. If you have more than 200 accounts following you, the least 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, it has the advantage over those who have less. Instagram’s algorithm ranks these accounts slightly above those with fewer posts.

This factor is crucial because they have more content to keep you glued to their page once you visit their profile, and Instagram is all about engagement.

Although Instagram can be used to connect people and have fun, it is also a business! So they try to keep you on the app for as long as possible no matter what, even if that means promoting the accounts with the most posts.

How to order your list of followers on Instagram?

You can now order your list of followers on Instagram according to who followed you recently and who followed you previously. Here’s how:

  1. Open Instagram on your mobile device.
  2. Tap the profile icon in the lower right corner. Tap the profile icon.
  3. Press the “Follow-up” option.
  4. Press the “Sort by default” button. Sort by default on the list of people followed on Instagram.
  5. Select the preferred option.Choose the preferred sorting option.

By choosing “Earlier”, your list will appear in the order of the people you followed first. If you choose “Latest”, Instagram’s algorithm will rank your list of followers based on your most recent followings.

Note: This procedure only classifies your list of followers for yourself and not for other users, so that you can better follow your followings.


Do bullies appear first in the list of people who follow them on Instagram?

No. One person constantly paying your profile visits to harass you is insufficient for your account to appear at the top of the following list.

The only number of times a person visits your profile is not part of Instagram’s algorithm for the follower list. She needs to do more than just visit your profile, like interact with your posts or send DMs.

What does “Sort by default” mean on the list of people who follow you on Instagram?

Here, default sorting means automatic sorting, using the programmed or pre-selected sorting option rather than manually choosing an option.


Although this article has shed some light on Instagram’s algorithms and the factors that influence them, it is essential to note that Instagram’s algorithms are constantly changing.

We hope we were able to pique your curiosity on how Instagram orders your list of default followings.