Popular social networking service Instagram is rethinking its spin to a TikTok-style video feed after recent changes proved highly unpopular with his fan base.
In recent weeks, Instagram has been testing a version of the app that opened up to a full-screen photo and video feed, apparently trying to transform the service into something more TikTok-like. Similarly, the new feed also disproportionately pushes seemingly random “recommended” posts, squeezing content out of those people Instagram users have actually chosen to follow.
Instagram boss Adam Mosseri has announced that the social media platform will “take a big step back and regroup”. Mosseri announced the reversal in an interview with Casey Newton of The Vergeadding: “I’m glad we took a chance: If we’re not failing from time to time, we’re not thinking big enough or bold enough.”
Mind you, this isn’t a permanent retirement, and Mosseri clarifies that Instagram plans to “work” and learn from the changes to “come back with some sort of new idea or iteration.” For now, the social media service is phasing out the full-screen trial version of the app and temporarily reducing the number of recommended posts and accounts. However, the goal is to fine-tune their personalization algorithms and try again with a feed that will delight users by providing more relevant recommendations.
“When you discover something in your field that you didn’t follow before, there should be a high bar, it should be great. You should be delighted to see it,” Mosseri told Newton, acknowledging that’s not happening right now.
Make Instagram Instagram again
Perhaps not surprisingly, those changes resulted in a massive backlash from fans who were unhappy with what their favorite social media service is becoming. Twitter is littered with Tweets from frustrated users that are quickly racking up tens of thousands of likes and retweets, and major celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian have weighed in, insisting that parent company Meta “Make Instagram Instagram Again.”
If Kylie Jenner speaks it, your platform is in trouble. Never forget snap losing over $1 billion when she said she didn’t open Snapchat anymore (in 2018) bc of the redesign pic.twitter.com/jkmAuWoFen
— Ashley Carman (@ashleyrcarman) July 25, 2022
However, it wasn’t just public outcry that caused Instagram to step back and undo these changes. The company’s own analyzes also showed how unpopular the new design was in practical terms. While almost every social network is seeing a shift from photos to videos, Instagram may have moved too impulsively. Mosseri said the “high-profile dissatisfaction” was supported by Instagram’s own internal data. However, the most intense criticism seems to focus on the design changes.
The new Instagram update really understood what I was looking for:
– none of my friends’ content
– reposted TikToks from meme accounts I do not follow
– 100x more ads
– everything played at full volume against my will
— Meg Watson (@msmegwatson) July 14, 2022
“For the new feed layouts, people are frustrated and the usage data is not great,” Mosseri told The Verge. “So there I think we have to take a big step back, regroup and figure out how we want to move forward.”
One thing that seems clear, however, is that Instagram’s pivot to video isn’t going to go away. In a recent earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg shared that the time people spent watching Reels grew 30% in the last quarter. There is clearly a demand for algorithmically recommended short video, and Meta will continue to work to give it a prominent place on both Facebook and Instagram. The biggest challenge for Mosseri and his team will be how to fit it into the app in a way that complements the Instagram experience rather than detracts from it.