In a new interview with Platformer, Instagram Head Adam Mosseri confirmed that the company will be rolling back new TikTok changes to the app. In the coming weeks, the full-screen feed will disappear and the number of recommended posts will be reduced.
On July 21, Instagram announced new video-centered features coming to the app like templates, support for dual cameras, improved remix, and others. The company also said that videos will be shared as reels, and began testing a full-screen feed for photos and videos which looked very similar to TikTok’s interface.
Immediately after, users flooded Instagram and Twitter with strong criticism. Even Celebrities like Kylie Jenner, and Kim Kardashian supported the petition “Make Instagram Instagram Again” not TikTok. Mosseri tried to explain the reasons behind the changes in a video message but to little avail. In response to his message, Chrissy Teigen wrote, “We don’t want to make videos Adam lol”.
Criticism and data show that users don’t want Instagram to become TikTok
Based on users’ strong disapproval of the changes and data, Mosseri confirmed that at the moment, the company has decided to halt the release of the features and reduce the number of recommendations on the app.
The high-profile dissatisfaction was backed up by Instagram’s own internal data, Mosseri said. The trend toward users watching more video is real, and pre-dated the rise of TikTok, he said. But it’s clear that people actually do dislike Instagram’s design changes.
“For the new feed designs, people are frustrated and the usage data isn’t great,” he said. “So there I think that we need to take a big step back, regroup, and figure out how we want to move forward.”
He also added that Instagram’s recommendations do not “delight” users to discover a new post or account. Therefore, the company is going to improve its algorithm for recommendations and until then, it will reduce the number of recommended posts on the app. Previously, he defended the need to push content on the platform in recommendations as an effective way for creators to reach new audiences and grow their following.
“When you discover something in your feed that you didn’t follow before, there should be a high bar — it should just be great,” Mosseri said. “You should be delighted 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, get better at ranking and recommendations, and then — if and when we do — we can start to grow again.” (“I’m confident we will,” he added.)
All in all, Mosseri was happy with the effort to bring something new to the users and its failure did not dampen his spirit to introduce more new changes in the future.
“I’m glad we took a risk — if we’re not failing every once in a while, we’re not thinking big enough or bold enough,” Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said. “But we definitely need to take a big step back and regroup. [When] we’ve learned a lot, then we come back with some sort of new idea or iteration. So we’re going to work through that.”
It is not the first time, that Instagram has copied features from other apps. In 2016, inspired by Snapchat’s disappearing stories, the company also launched Instagram Stories that disappeared after 24 hours. However, the platform did not receive backlash like it this time.