‘Stop trying to be TikTok’: how Instagram’s makeover has alienated users

The head of Instagram defended the app after celebrities joined a wave of complaints about a redesign that made the photo-sharing platform look more like rival TikTok.

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri spoke out after Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian re-shared a post that read: “Make Instagram Instagram again.”

The infographic, originally posted by photographer Tati Bruening, who goes by the username @illumitati, also urged Instagram to “stop trying to be TikTok,” adding, “I just want to see cute pictures of my friends. Sincerely, everyone.” The post garnered nearly two million likes.

Recent changes to the app, which include an “extremely algorithmic main feed” and a “push to TikTok-style reels,” have left users “struggling to find content from friends and family that was once the social network’s bread and butter.” according to The Guardian.

There have also been complaints about the new full-screen vertical view, reminiscent of the TikTok interface, and the large number of recommended videos from users that the account holder is not following.

‘This is a test’

In video posted on twitterMosseri said he “heard a lot of concerns about photos and how we’re moving to video” but insisted the platform “will continue to support photos.”

But he added that he needed to “be honest,” admitting that “over time, more and more Instagram will become video.” “We will have to lean on this shift while continuing to support the photos,” he said.

Commenting on complaints about the full-screen mode, Mosseri clarified to users that this is a “check”. “The idea is that a more full-screen experience, not just for videos but also for photos, can be a little more fun and engaging,” he said. But, he added, “I also want to make it clear [that] it’s not good yet.”

Mosseri said the recommendation feature is designed to help users find new content and is one of the “most effective and important” ways creators can reach more people. He said that users can choose to close or postpone recommendations.

“We will need to evolve because the world is changing rapidly and we will need to change with it,” he continued.

‘Serious Deal’

Mosseri shut down the video asking for feedback and got a lot, with one viewer demanding that he “stop spinning everything”. They added, “You are getting everyone from journalists, content creators, executives and celebrities to agree. Now this app is for everything you advertise and not for my friends and people I think are cool.”

Kylie Jenner’s intervention is significant because in the world of influencers, she “means serious business,” writes The Guardian. In 2018, one tweet by Jenner asked her 25 million followers, “Anyone else not opening Snapchat anymore?” wiped out $1.3 billion in market capitalization for a social network that underwent a controversial redesign.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, is “pushing short videos” — a market that TikTok dominates on mobile, according to CNBC.

The row comes as Meta prepares to report its earnings, with analysts predicting the company’s first quarterly year-on-year decline in revenue. According to web security and performance company Cloudflare, TikTok was the most downloaded app of 2021, beating out three platforms owned by Meta.

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