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Instagram’s algorithm believes I might enjoy these teeth

At any given time, my Instagram Explore page offers me a mix of tattoo posts, fashion, memes, and the occasional micro-influencer. It’s trained to serve my interests based on data like posts I’ve liked, saved, or what friends have liked. Each swipe is a lottery spin: will this load show me some nice pants I might like to buy, or an ex?

But for the last two weeks, Instagram has come up with a clever new method of torture. May I introduce to you, The Teeth? These Teeth? These?? Teeth??


They are the stadium seating of dental. They are the shining semi-circle sarlacc pit that shreds your soul for being the person who removes their shoes on airplanes. I fear them, but also I want to touch them.

Not impressed? Maybe you’d be more interested in these teeth, which I’ve come to regard with the same shock and awe as Sonic the Hedgehog’s CGI mouth.


Me enjoying a fine meme

Both pictures haunt my tab like the memory of a bad burrito I once ate from a gas station. They come from an account called makefullfashion. It claims to share “everyday fashion inspiration,” but actually seems like a honeypot to trick unsuspecting fools like me. Each photo advertises a teeth whitening pen with tags like #makeup and #eyebrows. They curiously ignore that, based on these images, the product causes your food hole to rapidly fill with extraneous pearly whites. More than 13.6K and 1.6K people and / or bots have knowingly liked these photos, respectively.

Hocking your product on Instagram is a delicate business that usually requires either a beloved influencer, an undeniably good product, or — I guess — a promotion that appears to be straight from the mind of Guillermo del Toro. As with a bar fight, it is impossible to simply pass on by without a good gawk. I’ve fallen for their tricks and looked at the ad. I’m still choosing to maintain my middling appearance.

Instagram lets you weed out posts you don’t want with varying results. (I once requested to see less of a popular Instagram user, and the algorithm banked hard in favor of snoozy nature photos.) It’s time for me to send them into the ether. I’ve passed them on to you, like that tape in The Ring or a bad cold, and now I can be free.


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