‘Stop trying to be TikTok’: How video-centric Instagram sparked a rebellion instagram
If you’re going to change social media platforms synonymous with celebrity culture, make sure the Kardashian-Jenners are onboard first.
Instagram was forced to back away partially last week after influencer royalty joined a user rebellion against the app, fueled by complaints that it had become too video-centric and that content from those accounts Whose people did not follow.
Kylie Jenner and her sister Kim Kardashian — who each have more than 300 million Instagram followers — echoed the concerns of hundreds of thousands of others when they shared a meme demanding “make Instagram Instagram again.”
The main allegation was that Instagram was copying its arch-rival TikTok at the expense of a loyal user base that wanted a renewed emphasis on its photo-sharing origins. The meme, which was originally posted by American photographer Tati Bruining, said: “Stop trying to be TikTok I just want to see cute pics of my friends.” A “Save Instagram” petition founded by Brewing has collected more than 275,000 signatures.
China-owned TikTok has rocked the social media establishment. The social video app has raced to keep abreast of Instagram’s more than 1 billion users worldwide, itself a former upstart that stoked the competition so much that Mark Zuckerberg bought it.
The head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, announced last week that the app would roll back some of the changes that sparked the rebellion. “I’m glad we took a risk – if we’re not failing every once in a while, we’re not thinking big enough or bold enough,” he said in an interview with the tech newsletter platformer. “But we definitely need to take a big step back and regroup.”
It is not only the influencers who have been complaining but also the people who use the platform to chat with friends and family. “It’s not a nice redesign. I refuse to scroll down my feed anymore because I see more videos from pages I don’t follow than my family and friends,” said a project management from Texas The company’s owner, Erica Cazares, said.
Instagram is trying to make a number of changes, including increasing the volume of videos in users’ main feeds, introducing full-screen mode for viewing posts, and pushing more videos from accounts that users don’t follow. In a permanent change announced last week, all videos posted on Instagram will become Instagram’s TikTok-style video feature “reels”.
Mosseri said Instagram will reduce the amount of videos pushed to users from accounts they don’t follow and will stop testing a full-screen mode for viewing posts.
Wex King, a self-help writer based in the UK, said that Instagram needs to do more to satisfy users. King said the credit for his success goes to Instagram – his literary agent found him on the app. But he is one of many users who took to the platform last week to lament how it has changed. Wing said her reach – measured by her 1.2 million followers – had fallen sharply this year since she began tinkering with Instagram.
“Most of the users I’ve talked to want photos to be a priority, want better support, a default chronological feed, and an algorithm that serves them better,” he said. “I think this rollback is a step in the right direction because it means they are attentive and they are listening, but they will still need to do more. If they want to do that they are going to compete with TikTok. You might also consider creating a separate reel app for
Instagram was launched by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in 2010 as a photo-sharing app, a home for the millions of people who were carrying on their camera-toting smartphones. It grew rapidly, from 1 million users in two months to 10 million within a year, prompting Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook to buy it for $1bn in 2012. It shaped celebrity culture, attracting legions of users as it became as ubiquitous as its Insta acronym.
Shortly before announcing the pullback, Mosseri said in a video post on Instagram that the world is changing and that Instagram needs to change with it. “I believe that over time there is going to be more and more Instagram videos.”
Instagram’s parent company, Meta, pointed to a short-video future last week, when it reported a 30% increase in time spent on reels across Instagram and Facebook.
Last week Instagram’s sister app Facebook also announced a revolutionary redesign, similarly focused on weaning users away from an algorithmically curated selection of posts from strangers and content shared by their friends. “Our discovery engine will recommend the content we think you’ll care about most,” said Zuckerberg, Facebook and Meta CEO.
Users who didn’t like the algorithmic change may have to handle it themselves. Zuckerberg said the amount of recommended content on people’s Instagram and Facebook feeds from accounts they don’t follow will double by the end of next year from currently 15% to 30%.
Experts say that Zuckerberg, who is making a major strategic push into the virtual world of the “Metaverse”, will not back down.
“Make no mistake, this is a regroup and not a walk back. Meta is clear that its future is metaverse and short-form video. And the latter means Instagram wants to be like TikTok,” said a research by analysis firm Forrester Director Mike Proulx said.
Instagram and Facebook fear that what many users want is the experience provided by TikTok. According to research by SimilarWeb, the video-sharing app surpasses Instagram in downloads, and even surpasses Facebook among 18- to 34-year-olds. TikTok has a very different approach from the “old Instagram,” with its algorithmically-powered “for you” page pulling content from users around the service, rather than focusing on friends and other followers.
But the difference of Tiktok is not only in form. Unlike Instagram and Facebook, the app has always been more about consuming content than connecting with friends — and in a hurry, something Zuckerberg and Mosseri have forgotten.
“It seems like Meta has correctly identified what people love about TikTok,” said Ryan Broderick, who wrote the Garbage Day newsletter about Internet culture. “Short-form video, remixable video and audio-editing tools that work on mobile, and creators who make stuff up rather than impress — but they still need to jam those features into an ecosystem.” Trying what wasn’t made for them.”