The head of Instagram said Tuesday that the latest update to the platform is just a “test,” following a slew of complaints from users, including Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian, who objected to the recent redesign.
“If you see or hear about a new full-screen version of a feed, know that this is a test,” Adam Mosseri said in a video addressing concerns about platform changes. “It’s a test for a few people out there, and the idea is that a full screen experience, not just for video but for photos, could be a more fun and interactive experience. But I also want to be clear, it’s not good yet.”
The video was posted a day after Jenner and Kardashian retweeted a circulating post on the platform that read, “Make Instagram again.”
“Stop trying to be TikTok,” this post, originally shared by photographer illumitati, read. “I just want to see cute pictures of my friends. Sincerely, everyone.” It has amassed over 1.7 million likes as of Tuesday.
The sentiment is being shared by a growing group of content creators, who are having trouble with the growing size of photos and videos, which has the intended effect of making Instagram a “full screen” experience, like TikTok. Some have even threatened to leave the app due to the change.
Mosseri said the platform will always support photos, but acknowledged that it now tends to show users more videos, including TikTok-style videos called Reels.
The backlash comes as Meta faces significant headwinds as a company, with Facebook’s recent redesign signaling efforts to acquire TikTok and revitalize its advertising business.
So far, many users considered this latest update to be a failure, saying they are frustrated with the amount of video they watch on an app that usually prioritizes photos. Additionally, many are upset about seeing accounts they don’t follow recommended in their feeds, while accounts they follow and enjoy no longer appear on their homepage.
When Jenner and Kardashian posted about the update on Monday, Instagram got more attention, especially considering that endorsing or not Jenner has been detrimental to social media platforms in the past. In February 2018, Jenner tweeted that she was no longer using Snapchat after the redesign. Snap shares fell 7 percent after the tweet, and the company lost more than $1 billion in market capital.
In his statement, Mosseri said Instagram knows the update needs to be improved before it moves to the platform’s larger user base.
He touched on concerns that the app is moving away from photos, saying that photos are part of Instagram’s legacy and will continue to be supported.
But Instagram users are sharing and consuming more videos on the platform than ever before, according to Mosseri.
“I have to be honest, I think more and more Instagrams are going to become videos over time,” he said. “We see this even if we don’t change anything.”
I have to be honest, I think more and more Instagram will become video over time.
Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram
This isn’t the first time users have criticized Instagram’s redesign. In December 2018, the company changed its vertical scrolling homepage to a horizontal “click to advance” layout. The reaction was very violent, and the feed was later changed to its original vertical format. At the time, Mosseri also said the redesign was a test.
“This was supposed to be a very small test, but we went to a larger scale than we expected,” he wrote on Twitter.
Facebook, which is also owned by Meta, has turned out to be more similar to TikTok. Earlier this month, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, said that users will start seeing an overview when they open the mobile app. Users will see more consecutive videos in their feed, but they can also select what type of feed they see. Their options include a main feed, a feed with friends-only posts, and a group-focused feed.
TikTok became the most downloaded app in 2021, according to Cloudflare, a web security and performance company. The video platform has crossed three Meta-owned platforms.
TikTok was also the most downloaded app in the first quarter of 2022, according to a report by the analytics firm Sensor Tower.
The backlash to Instagram’s latest update also adds to the broader dissatisfaction some users have expressed about the platform’s moderation practices.
What Instagram wants from creators goes against what creators want from Instagram.
For example, on May 10, Instagram held a promotional event for Reels and advised creators, including meme creators and comedians, to create lifestyle content such as beauty lessons, recipes, and room tours. But many creators object to the platform’s suggestions regarding what they publish.
On Saturday, a group of New York-based memes creators protested the app outside the offices of Meta in New York, which owns Instagram. They have made a list of demands regarding transparency around moderation practices.
“Instagram is something people need to survive,” the creators wrote in their list of demands. “This private entity has become the public domain, and our voices should not be controlled by the Meta.”
“We demand that we stop censoring vital information because the content is political in nature,” said one of the claimants.
More than half a dozen creators spoke out at Saturday’s protest, including 24-year-old Anna, whose Instagram is the neoliberal Hill. She wanted to be referred to only by her first name or her username for the sake of her privacy.
“I don’t think it’s fair to suppress and censor voices that stray from the sanitized Meta version of the Hell on the Internet,” Anna said during her speech. “A lot of people have asked me, ‘If you hate Instagram so much, why don’t you download and use another app? “Well so far there is really no alternative to what I do and what many of us do.”
A Meta spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the meme creators’ concerns and Saturday’s protest.
Mosseri emphasized in his video message that changes are inevitable and necessary for the platform.
We will also need to evolve, he said, because the world is changing rapidly and we will have to change with it.
However, Mosseri’s video message on Tuesday continued to raise questions about the future of the platform, including from other celebrities on social media.
Supermodel Chrissy Teigen replied to Mosseri’s Twitter video, where he wrote, “We don’t want to make Adam lol videos.”
“I think for me it’s not just that I’m annoying in the video industry,” she added. second reply To the Instagram exec. “The thing is, I don’t see my actual boyfriend’s posts and they don’t see mine, I see the same people over and over and then the feed pops up ‘You all got caught! “
Their back and forth ended when Teigen finished Wrote: “Honestly, I know it’s a lot more complicated than all these opinions from people who aren’t into tech (me) but I think we’ve just loved it’s innocent simplicity before! Picture. Like. Picture. Like. Maybe a button asking what we prefer so we can Who caught!”
Another person on Twitter asked Mosseri, “Why don’t you ever listen to your users?”
he is replied: “Believe it or not we’re trying. We spend a lot of time trying to understand what people like based on how they use Instagram and what they’re saying about the app. Things can get tricky when these two are on edge.”
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