Instagram is rolling back a newly released version of its app that featured full-screen videos after facing strong criticism from influencers and celebrities.
The social media platform is testing full-screen videos and photos, but many Instagram users, including famous sisters Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, complained the app was copying rival TikTok and shared a petition to ‘make Instagram Instagram again’.
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri told Casey Newton’s Platformer on Thursday that some of the changes will be phased in, but the number of algorithmically recommended videos people watch will be reduced, a number he says will increase again as the company realizes the technology has improved. .
‘I’m glad we took the risk – if we don’t fail every once in a while, we’re not thinking big or bold enough,’ Mosseri said.
‘But we definitely need to take a big step back and regroup. [When] We learn a lot, then we come back with some new ideas or iterations. So we’re working through that.’
Instagram is testing full-screen videos and photos, but many users, including well-known influencers and celebrities, have complained that the app is copying rival TikTok.
Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner lead the ‘Make Instagram Instagram Again’ movement. The couple expressed displeasure with the app’s new design, which is similar to TikTok
The head of Instagram has previously admitted that the changes to the app were ‘not good yet’ after Kim Kardashian joined the chorus of criticism about the changes to the photo-sharing site it is mad to take on TikTok.
Instagram is increasingly promoting its Reels feature — a short-video feature that seems to have taken a page from TikTok’s playbook.
On Tuesday, Mosseri admitted to having teething problems and insisted that the changes are necessary and here to stay.
But as of Thursday, the Instagram boss told Platformer that the company is temporarily scaling back the use of its recommendation algorithm, which places content in users’ feeds that they don’t already follow.
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said Thursday that the company is temporarily scaling back its use of its recommendation algorithm, which places content in users’ feeds that they may not already be following.
“When you find something in your feed that you haven’t followed before, there has to be a high bar – it has to be pretty good,” Mosseri told Platformer.
‘You should be glad to see it. And I don’t think that’s happening enough right now. So I think we need to take a step back, in terms of the percentage of feeds that have recommendations, get better at ranking and recommendations, and then – if and when we do – we can start growing again.’
Mosseri has said the app will continue to support photos, but said Thursday that reels were likely the future of Instagram’s feed. He claimed that ‘personal sharing’ of photos is happening more in stories and direct messages than in feeds.
‘Feed can be, and to some extent is, a place to find things to talk about with your friends. With Reels, we’re seeing more of this happen,’ he said. ‘Reels inspire a lot of conversations – people just send their friends funny videos they find in the feed.’
Kim Kardashian and her sister Kylie Jenner, seen in 2020, led criticism of Instagram’s changes
Mosseri said the change is being made in response to user behavior and added that the people whose screens were changed were part of a test group ahead of a wider rollout.
He said they believed a more full-screen experience for both photos and videos – ‘could be a more enjoyable and engaging experience’.
But users have said they’re sick of random strangers’ posts popping up on them, and they just want to see their contacts.
Critics have bombarded Instagram executives with pleas to stop the push for video, and return Instagram to its simple photo origins.
On Monday, Kardashian and her sister Kylie Jenner — who is the most followed woman on Instagram — asked Adam Mosseri to reconsider the video plan.
‘Make Instagram Instagram again,’ they both posted.
‘Don’t try to be TikTok, I just want to see cute photos of my friends.’
Meta, owned by Facebook and Instagram, launched Reels in August 2020 in response to TikTok’s growing dominance in the video sharing market. It now works on Instagram and Facebook.
Mosseri acknowledged that the changes to the app are not yet complete, but said they are necessary
Mosseri is pictured with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Meta is now owned by Instagram
On Wednesday, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg told investors during the company’s second-quarter earnings call that the company plans to double the amount of recommended content on Facebook and Instagram feeds by the end of next year, Insider reported.
A little more than 15 percent of the content in Instagram users’ feeds is recommended content, Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg also said on the call that about 20 percent of the time people spend on Instagram is watching Reels.
How have Facebook and Instagram copied Snapchat over the years?
March 2016 – Filters
One of the first signs that Facebook was copying Snapchat was in March 2016 when it bought MSQRD, an app that overlays silly live filters on your selfies.
The app lets users apply filters to their faces – similar to Snapchat ‘Lens’ filters.
One of the first signs that Facebook was copying Snapchat was in March 2016 when it bought MSQRD, an app that overlays silly live filters on your selfies. The app lets users apply filters to their faces (pictured right) – similar to Snapchat ‘lens’ filters (pictured left).
April 2016 – QR Codes
In April last year, Facebook added QR codes to profiles on Messenger.
Snapchat uses QR codes to allow people to add other users without searching.
December 2016 – Location-based filters and in-app cameras
Facebook introduced custom location-based camera filters that overlay photos and videos – similar to Snapchat’s ‘geo-filter’.
Users create ‘frames’ on any design platform, submit them to Facebook and then close friends will have access to the creations.
In the same month, a ‘Messenger camera’ was designed to make it faster to take and share photos and videos without leaving the conversation – a feature that already existed on Snapchat.
In December, Facebook introduced custom location-based camera filters (pictured right) that overlay photos and videos – similar to Snapchat’s ‘geo-filters’ (pictured left).
March 2017 – Stories
In March, Facebook introduced two other new Snapchat-like features — Facebook Camera and Facebook Stories with Live.
Facebook Stories highlights decorative content in a horizontal layout in the News Feed that disappears in 24 hours – just like Snapchat Stories.
Facebook Stories (pictured right) highlights decorative content in a horizontal layout in the news feed that disappears after 24 hours – like Snapchat Stories (pictured left).
The app’s ‘Direct’ section looks similar to Snapchat’s feed for one-to-one group messaging.
The update encourages users to use Facebook’s camera feature and lets them put friends’ stories at the top of their news feed.
In the same month it also introduced ‘Messenger Day’, which lets users share photos and videos with illustrated filters and stickers that disappear in 24 hours – like Snapchat Stories.
November 2017 – Streaks
In November, Facebook copied Snapchat by testing a new feature that encourages friends to send messages back and forth for consecutive days.
Similar to ‘Snapstreaks’ on Snapchat, Facebook Messenger ‘Streaks’ have a user regularly place an emoji next to the name of anyone they message.
According to Facebook, this will encourage users to ‘keep your streak going’.
In March, Facebook introduced ‘Messenger Day’, which lets users share photos and videos with illustrated filters and stickers that disappear in 24 hours – just like Snapchat Stories.
January 2018 – Screenshots
In January, Facebook-owned app Instagram began testing a feature that lets your followers know you’ve taken a screenshot of their Story.
The Snapchat-inspired feature is expected to launch on the photo-sharing platform soon and is currently being tested in Japan.
May 2018 – Bitmoji
Like filters, snaps and stories, Facebook has revealed that it is copying the Bitmoji feature used in Snapchat.
Within the code of Facebook’s Android app, developers have discovered an unpublished functionality that lets users build their own personalized, featured versions to use as stickers in Messenger and comments.
November 2021 – Rage Shake
Instagram has copied Snapchat by launching a feature called ‘Rage Shake’.
Users just have to open the Instagram app and shake their phone and a little pop-up appears that lets them report the annoying technical issue.
This is similar to Snapchat’s ‘Shake to Report’, which lets users shake their smartphone to report a bug in advance.