It’s always nice to see social movements make some real change, especially when it comes to fixing something that has been universally hated. In this case, Instagram is pressing rewind on the changes it's been making to the platform after a social media storm unfolded with the slogan “Make Instagram Instagram Again.” The controversy hit a fever pitch when Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian shared an Instagram post on July 25 with the catchphrase, asking the app to stop trying to be TikTok. After testing full-screen feeds and increasing the app’s focus on videos received significant backlash, Instagram will roll back on the changes, according to Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri.
“We definitely need to take a big step back and regroup,” Mosseri admitted in a July 28 interview with Platformer. “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... For the new feed designs, people are frustrated and the usage data isn’t great. I think there we need to take a big step back, regroup, and figure out how we want to move forward.”
You’ll be glad to hear that the “big step back” includes scaling back on the “percentage of feed that are recommendations,” Mosseri said. You spoke, and Instagram listened. The backlash on the changes included asking the OG photo-sharing app to focus more on photos from friends and family, instead of people that you don’t follow. Mosseri emphasized Instagram’s priority to connect people with friends and family but noted changes in how people communicate.
“I don't think connecting people with their friends and family is any less important to us than it was two years ago, or five years ago, or eight years ago. But how that works, and how we try [to] meet that need, has changed as how people communicate with their friends has changed,” he told Platformer. “What's happened over the last decade is that how people share with friends has changed. It has shifted to stories, and it has shifted to DMs and to group chats.”
As the saying goes, good things take time, and it wouldn’t hurt for Instagram to slow down its changes. When asked about whether data was showing discrepancies in what people want versus what people are interacting with, Mosseri explained that people are interacting more with video than photos, and it’s been that way for a while. However, usage data showed people weren’t too keen on the recently implemented full-screen feed, which Mosseri called “high beta” and “experimental.”
He acknowledged that Instagram needs to do “a better job” at “explaining something before it happens.” High-key, a great idea. Mosseri didn’t provide a timeline for when Instagram will return to its former glory, but at least know users know the recent changes are not here to stay.