SOURCE: Kalley Huang & Mike Isaac | The New York Times
Instagram said on Thursday that it was rolling back several recent updates to its photo-sharing app after Kylie Jenner and other celebrities joined a user backlash against the changes and criticized the platform for trying to be too much like TikTok.
Instagram said it would pause tests of full-screen photo and video posts, which the app had introduced to replace its typical look of posts that take up just a portion of the screen. The app, which is owned by Meta, also said it would temporarily decrease the number of posts in user feeds that its algorithm recommended, a new feature that it had been trying out.
TikTok, the highly popular Chinese-owned video app, shows full-screen videos, most of which are recommended by its algorithm.
While we believe that Instagram needs to evolve as the world changes, we want to take the time to make sure we get this right.
“We recognize that changes to the app can be an adjustment, and while we believe that Instagram needs to evolve as the world changes, we want to take the time to make sure we get this right,” Meta said in a statement.
The technology newsletter Platformer reported earlier on Instagram’s decision to reverse the changes.
Some of Instagram’s most followed users had criticized the updates. On Monday, Ms. Jenner and Kim Kardashian, her half sister, both shared an image on Instagram that read: “Make Instagram Instagram again. (stop trying to be tiktok i just want to see cute photos of my friends.) Sincerely, everyone.”
In response to the criticism, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, posted a video on Tuesday explaining the updates and defending the app’s move to video. He also acknowledged that some of the changes were still in process, calling them “not yet good.”
Make Instagram Instagram again. (stop trying to be tiktok i just want to see cute photos of my friends.) Sincerely, everyone.
Meta has been trying to morph some of its marquee products into ones that better mimic competitors. Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s chief executive, has spoken publicly about how TikTok has grown into a formidable challenger for people’s attention and said his company needed to act quickly to keep up with viral trends and new features of those rivals.
In a call with investors on Wednesday after Meta reported its first quarterly revenue decline as a public company, Mr. Zuckerberg said Instagram’s Reels, a video product, was driving user growth and engagement. He said the company expected to double down on the product category over time.
Mr. Zuckerberg also called out the shift to “algorithmic discovery” of new and suggested content, a trend that has brought TikTok enormous success by putting popular videos in users’ feeds even if they do not come from friends or groups they follow.
Last week, Instagram introduced features to encourage collaboration among users on photo and video posts and announced that all videos would be shared as Reels, which were launched as short video montages akin to those on TikTok. Mr. Zuckerberg also unveiled a feature for the main Facebook app last week that will insert more videos and suggested content into users’ feeds, much as TikTok does.
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