Instagram Addresses User Backlash Over Latest Updates

Meta-owned photo-sharing (originally) platform Instagram has come out in response to uproar from a large section of its users who have been criticising its transformation to video and algorithmically generated content.

Since its launch in 2010, the platform has seen major changes but none has sparked controversy more than its recent focus on video more than photos, as well as suggested posts over ‘friends’ content on its Feed.

Ostensibly, this has been its effort to try and compete with newcomer and short video platform TikTok. Some have even described its new feel as a failed attempt at a TikTok-Pinterest mashup.

US socialite Kim Kardashian and her sister Kylie Jenner, the most-followed women on Instagram, on Tuesday joined content creators in criticising Instagram by asking the platform to “make Instagram Instagram again”.

It is important to note that Kylie single-handedly drove down Snapchat’s stock by $1.3billion in a day because she said she didn’t open the app anymore after a controversial re-design.

Instagram Head Adam Mosseri in a video response has admitted that there has been “a lot of change all at once” on the platform, and assured users that photos will stay on the platform “part of our heritage”.

“I want to be clear: We’re going to continue to support photos. It’s part of our heritage. That said, I need to be honest: I do believe that more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time,” said Mosseri.

He noted that some of its new updates such as the full-screen mode, recommendations and visibility of friends’ posts will be subject to further improvement, saying: “We’re going to stay in a place where we try and put your friends’ content at the top of feeds and in front of stories whenever possible.

“But we’re also going to need to evolve because the world is changing quickly. And we’re going to have to change along with it.”

Currently, TikTok has more than 680 million monthly active users globally while Instagram has around 1 billion active users every month.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously described Instagram’s new transformation  as a “major shift” from a feed of posts determined by who you follow to one curated by new AI technology that he called a “discovery engine.”

He has also publicly acknowledged TikTok’s threat to Instagram, telling Meta investors in February that “people have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time, and apps like TikTok are growing very quickly.”

And the transformation does not stop at Instagram. 

An April internal memo to staff from a Meta executive in charge of Facebook, laid out the plan for Instagram’s sister: rather than prioritise posts from accounts people follow, Facebook’s main feed will start heavily recommending posts regardless of where they come from. 

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