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How Instagram Uses Machine Learning To Help You Explore

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Today we're at Instagram where we're going to talk to the head of the community lab, Dan Toffee, about how they use a combination of machine learning and human curation to help curate the content that you see in the Discover tab every time you open up Instagram[MUSIC]I've been on the community team for five and a half years now. And what the community team does has really evolved as the community has evolved. And so, using machine learning, we have this rich diversity of data that we're able to use to look for kind constellations of accounts. And then we can go in with humans and look at it and understand what they're doing. And we can cut the data in all sorts of interesting ways, by country, by age, all sorts of different things. So, what we're able to do is use this high signal set of data and curate those accounts. >> I know that when I look at my Discover tab, a lot of it is very obviously, personalized and catches my interest. But then some of it's totally out of left field and weird. How do you balance that machine learning versus human creation?>> Our sort of, thesis is that there's a sort of, ideal Instagram experience, and it’s one that you are following a diversity of kind of lenses on the world. And what's important is to give you opportunities to follow things that are outside of the things that you've already expressed interest in. And so, we try and build some of that into the explore experience to give you new opportunities to discover something that you maybe didn't have any idea existed. >> When there's a new community or trend happening on Instagram, how do you guys sort of detect that stuff as it's starting to take shape?>> Today, a lot of the discovery that happens on Instagram, I think if you ask somebody, how do you find new things? Often, it'll be some variation of like, the certain serendipitous quality, right? Where people are just like, I don't really know, or I saw this thing and then I clicked on this other thing, and then, I sort of fell down the rabbit hole. And I think we sort of view the explore tab like that.

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