WhatsApp will automatically rank your friends in order of how often you chat with them and will push their status updates to the top of your screen
As the name suggests, the new Ranking feature will automatically arrange your contact list by pushing your ‘favourite’ friend’s status updates to the top of your list. Status updates published by the contact with the highest ranking will always be at the top of the list, so you will quickly be able to find your favorite status updates.
The data will be used in the Status section of the app and monitor your activity with friends, showing you updates from the people it thinks you want to see at the top. This means people you frequently ignore or rarely interact with on the messaging app will be moved to the bottom of the list.
According to WABetaInfo, the algorithm analyzes various elements including how much you chat, whether you are in the same WhatsApp groups and the amount you mention them to others. The data also assumes that a person you frequently call is someone you care about and so their ranking will go up
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Rankings will be determined by your phone locally meaning that if you delete the app or change your phone, it will return to a chronological layout while it re-learns your the ranking system. This algorithm is very similar to the one adopted by Instagram which amassed many complaints from users because they wanted to see posts from people in order of when it was posted.
In 2015, the company quietly introduced a new feature which allowed users to see who they spoke to most by going into the settings option and clicking the ‘storage usage’ button. This shows the total number of messages you have sent and received at the bottom, as well as a breakdown of the number in each conversation from high to low.
The feature has only been enabled today so for any IOS user who has the version 18.104.22.168 beta installed, it should take time before WhatsApp is able to rank all your contacts, so you should still see the status list in chronological order.
WhatsApp is just rolling out the feature today