““I need to be honest: I do believe that more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time.””
That was Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, responding to complaints from users including Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner that the Meta-owned
social network built on photo-sharing is trying to copy TikTok by pushing more videos.
Mosseri tweeted a roughly 2 1/2 -minute video on Tuesday to address what Instagram is working on, such as testing a full-screen video feed, and having all new public video posts shared as Reels, aka short clips shared to Instagram that resemble TikTok videos.
These video-favoring features have drawn backlash from some high-profile Instagram influencers, however, including the Jenner-Kardashian clan.
Kylie Jenner, who boasts the second-most-popular Instagram account (after soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo) with 361 million followers, shared a screenshot of another user’s post on her Instagram Stories on Monday entitled “Make Instagram Instagram again.” Her sister Kim Kardashian, who has 326 million followers, shared the post to her Stories, too.
“Stop trying to be TikTok,” the post said, adding that most users “just want to see cute photos of my friends,” rather than the growing number of video Reels, ads and posts from people they don’t follow that Instagram’s algorithm recommends to them.
The viral message has inspired a Change.org petition also called “Make Instagram Instagram Again” that has drawn more than 160,000 signatures. The petition includes a list of demands for the platform, such as bringing back chronological timelines (where users would see the most recent posts from accounts they follow first, rather than what Instagram’s algorithm pushes to the top of their feeds) and for Instagram to return its focus to photos.
It also echoed the call to stop mimicking TikTok. “We have TikTok for a reason, and let’s face it, the only Reels uploaded are recycled TikToks and content that the world has already seen,” the petition says.
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Instagram isn’t pumping the brakes on pushing more video anytime soon, however, as Mosseri spelled out in his video address via Twitter
“We’re going to continue to support photos. That’s part of our heritage,” he said. But he added that Instagram is going to get more involved with video, because that’s what users are engaging with now.
“If you look at what people share on Instagram, that’s shifting more and more to videos over time,” he said. “If you look at what people like and consume and view on Instagram, that’s also shifting more and more to video over time, even when we stop changing anything. So we’re going to have to lean into that shift while continuing to support photos.”
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Mosseri said that he hears the concerns of Instagram users, and admitted that the full-screen video experience the social-media site has been testing out is “not yet good.” He added that Instagram will “need to evolve,” and invited users to give feedback in the comments.
And boy, did they.
“We don’t wanna make videos Adam,” said model-turned-author and influencer Chrissy Teigen, who has 38.6 million Instagram followers, in the top comment beneath the Instagram honcho’s video tweet.
Others suggested that Instagram users are engaging more with videos because Instagram is pushing more videos in front of them.
Still others complained about not being able to see the posts they want to see from friends and family, because trending and sponsored posts are shown in their feeds, first.
Reps from Meta and Instagram were not immediately available for comment. Mosseri did respond to some of the responses beneath his video, however, such as telling Teigen that she shouldn’t feel pressured to make videos if she doesn’t want to make Instagram videos. “What I want is an Instagram that is about photos [for those] who prefer photos, and is about video for those who prefer that format,” he wrote.
He also suggested that Instagram users can prioritize seeing posts from friends and family by adding them to their “favorites” in their Instagram preferences, adding: “We try and show photos and videos from your friends at the top of Feed whenever we can.”
The back-and-forth between Instagram and its user base came the day before Meta was set to report its second-quarter earnings, when Facebook’s parent company was expected to disclose its first ever year-over-year drop in revenue along with a profit decline of more than 30%. And this comes just three months after the company reported Facebook’s first-ever user decline.
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And: Mark Zuckerberg issues dire economic warning to Meta employees
While Instagram has generally been a bright spot in Meta’s portfolio, Insider Intelligence analyst Debra Aho Williamson recently warned that Instagram is also “starting to see softness in the important teen and young-adult age groups.” What’s more, analysts have cited competition from TikTok for user attention among the top challenges facing Meta’s social-media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Last week, Snap’s
bombshell earnings report (a second-quarter net loss of $422.1 million) saw the company’s stock plummet, and also dragged down Meta, Alphabet and Pinterest.