Instagram is undoing some changes to the app after a response from users that saw influencer royalty Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian turn the platform on.
The photo and video sharing app was accused of mimicking TikTok at the expense of its most loyal users, after users’ anger over a series of changes boiled over this week. Instagram said Thursday it was rolling back some of the changes, including a test version of the app that displays messages in full screen.
It will also mitigate changes to the algorithm that have caused users’ feeds to be flooded with videos from accounts they don’t follow.
“I’m glad we took a risk — if we don’t fail every once in a while, we’re not thinking big enough or bold enough,” Instagram head Adam Mosseri said in an interview with tech newsletter Platformer. “But we definitely need to take a big step back and regroup. [When] we learned a lot, then we come back with some kind of new idea or iteration. So we’re going to work on that.”
The rumblings among some of Instagram’s more than 1 billion users came to a head on Monday when Jenner, the app’s third most followed user with 361 million followers, joined her sister Kim Kardashian, the seventh largest with 326 million. added while sharing a meme that demanded “Remake Instagram Instagram.” The meme added: “stop trying to be tiktok, I just want to see cute pictures of my friends.”
People who used the platform to communicate with friends and family also complained that their feeds were inundated with unwanted videos. The response prompted Mosseri to post a video on Tuesday – which he said was recorded before seeing the Kardashian posts – in which he said that “more and more of Instagram will become video over time”. But on Thursday, he admitted that Instagram had gone too far.
“For the new feed designs, people are frustrated and the usage data isn’t great,” he told Platformer. “So there I think we have to take a big step back, regroup and figure out how we want to move forward.”
Mosseri added that Instagram would reduce the number of recommended posts after users complained about pushing content from accounts they don’t follow. “If you discover something in your field that you haven’t followed before, there has to be a high bar — it should just be great,” Mosseri said. “You should be happy 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 feed that are recommendations.”
Daily Show host Trevor Noah was one of the critics of the recommendation change, saying, “Everything is an ad and your feed is full of people you don’t follow.”
The rise of TikTok, which has more than 1 billion users worldwide, has challenged the social media establishment. In a permanent change announced by Instagram last week that won’t be undone, it says that all videos posted to Instagram will become “Reels”, the app’s TikTok-esque video feature.
Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, Instagram’s parent company and also the owner of Facebook, reported a 30% increase in time spent on Reels on Wednesday. However, it also reported its first year-over-year decline in quarterly sales, for the April-June period, a decline attributed to macroeconomic conditions.