Hugely popular social media platform, Instagram, once grappled with what it termed the “Bieber problem,” a high-volume interaction issue tied to pop sensation Justin Bieber’s huge fanbase.
Whenever Bieber posted a photograph on the platform, it generated such an astounding number of “likes” that Instagram’s existing cache was unable to accommodate them all. Consequently, the service would slow as it attempted to retrieve each piece of interaction data from the disk, putting immense strain on the platform’s entire infrastructure.
This issue was so pronounced that Instagram’s co-founder, Mike Krieger, memorized Bieber’s digital ID due to the frequency of these challenges. Addressing such a unique, large-scale problem requires a unique solution. Instagram resolved this issue by restructuring its system, specifically aiming at managing the high volume of interactions generated by posts from figures like Bieber. The platform implemented a memory cache within its computer data centers to swiftly roll out new content to millions of users.
This innovative approach allowed Instagram to swiftly relay data from memory—a process notably faster than retrieving it from databases located on disks. This change dramatically improved overall service speed and user experience.
As of 2024, Instagram’s algorithm has witnessed significant evolution. It now employs an array of algorithms, classifiers, and various other processes to deliver a highly personalized user experience. This restructuring aims to retain users on the app by offering content they find engaging and relevant.
Despite these changes, celebrities like Bieber continue to exert significant influence on the platform’s day-to-day operation and long-term development. Their popularity directly impacts the platform’s algorithms, shaping the way content is delivered and consumed. This dynamic crossroad of technology and star power is a testament to Instagram’s commitment to adapt and cater to the evolving demands of its extensive user base.