Kylie Jenner has beef with Instagram. On Monday, Jenner reposted a plea to her 360 million followers asking Instagram to stop copying TikTok. “Make Instagram Instagram again. (Stop trying to be TikTok I just want to see cute photos of my friends),” Jenner’s story said, “Sincerely, everyone (pleaseeeeeee).”
Some noted that Jenner and her famous family have a pecuniary interest in Instagram staying the same, as it helps them sell merchandise and stay in the public eye. But Jenner isn’t the only one complaining. Many dislike the efforts Instagram has recently been making, as it’s pushing videos, Reels (its TikTok imitator), and recommendations.
On Tuesday, Instagram responded to the backlash by saying that it’s understanding of their criticisms but will continue making changes. It also said it is going to try and improve the user experience.
In a video message, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, said it’s experimenting with full-screen feeds because it “might be a more fun and engaging experience.”
Mosseri said that it’s currently testing this with a small percentage of users and implied that full-screen Instagram is the way of the future.
“It’s not yet good,” he said. “And we’re going to have to get it to a good place if we’re going to ship it to the rest of the Instagram community.”
Mosseri then addressed the elephant in the feed: the shift towards videos.
He assured people that Instagram will “continue to support photos—it’s a part of our heritage.” But it is nevertheless going to proceed with tweaking the algorithm to prioritize videos.
“I do believe that more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time,” he said. This, Mosseri asserted, is inevitable because people are sharing, watching, and engaging with videos more and more.
“We see this even if we change nothing. We see this even if you just look at chronological feed.”
Thus, it’s going to “lean into that shift.”
The third and final item Mosseri addressed is Instagram’s recommendations feature. People have wondered why they’re seeing recommendations for accounts they don’t follow. This is intentional, he said.
“The idea is to help you discover new and interesting things on Instagram you may not know exist.”
He added that if people are being recommended accounts and posts they aren’t interested in, that’s because Instagram needs to do a better job ranking recommendations.
For those frustrated by unwelcome posts showing up on the timeline, Mosseri suggested snoozing recommendations or reverting to their “following feed.” The recommendations feature is also under construction, he added, “because we think it’s one of the most effective and important ways to help creators reach more people.”
In summary, Mosseri said the platform is aware of people’s concerns, including that it’s changing a lot in a relatively short amount of time. He reassured people that Instagram is at least endeavoring to make sure friends’ posts and stories are prioritized “whenever possible.”
“But we’re also going to need to evolve because the world is changing quickly and we have to change along with it.”
He closed his statement with a request for feedback. People didn’t hesitate to take him up on this offer.
Based on the comments, users hate the efforts.
People asserted that Instagram is essentially forcing creators to post videos to keep their engagement up then claiming that it’s happening organically. They also claim that people are gaming the algorithm by posting static content in video format. Many also dislike the recommendations they’re seeing. Those who have the full-screen beta feature don’t seem to like that, either.
Influencers with large followings were among the most vocal critics.
“So basically what he’s saying is, we have seen all your comments and tags but we are not going to change/make the platform what it used to be,” wrote @chantelle_petit, who has 100,000 Instagram followers. “Basically just accept these changes no matter how much they’re affecting you.”
@aubreyswanblog, who has 300,000 followers, chimed in, “Creators have moved to video because when we post a photo, it’s not shown to our audience. We have no choice.”
A Twitter user described the full-screen experience as “awful and disruptive,” and said the recommendations tab makes it even more “horrendous.”
Some said the changes have them considering leaving the platform entirely.
“Reels and videos are good for certain types of creators,” wrote one. “Plenty feel we’re wasting our time there.”
Some reiterated Jenner’s complaint that Instagram should stop trying to be something it’s not. “Videos are fine, but I use IG for IG, not Tiktok,” commented @Quinoanoir.
One of the biggest sources of frustration is that people don’t feel that Instagram is listening to them.
“How many more explanations do you need, cause I’ve been in this comment thread for the past half hour and EVERYONE is telling you the same thing!!!” wrote @biancalinta.