Instagram is rolling back a series of controversial changes after high-profile users including Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner accused the platform of “trying to be TikTok.”
Amid growing criticism, Meta said Thursday it will reduce the number of featured posts and videos from accounts users don’t follow that they see in their feeds as it works to improve its personalization algorithms.
“I’m glad we took the risk — if we don’t fail from time to time, then we don’t think big enough or bold enough,” Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said. told The Verge.
“But we definitely need to take a big step back and regroup. [When] we learned a lot, then we come back with some new idea or iteration. So we will work on it.”
It comes after half-sisters Kardashian and Jenner, who collectively have 686 million followers on Instagram, posted a message on the photo-sharing app. on Monday which read: “Make Instagram Instagram again. Stop trying to be tik tak. I just want to see cute pictures of my friends. Sincerely, Everyone.”
Jenner, the model, social media influencer, and cosmetics entrepreneur, has 360 million followers on Instagram, while Kardashian, the reality TV star and businesswoman, has 326 million followers.
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Football star Cristiano Ronaldo is the only person to have more Instagram followers — 470 million — than Jenner.
Instagram has made changes to its platform to attract younger users who may gravitate towards TikTok.
As per the changes, the app automatically posted almost all video posts under 15 minutes in Reels format. This meant that, according to CreativeBloq, there was no difference between reels and video posts.
Instagram has also allowed people to use any public post in their own videos. Prior to the change, users could only remix drums.
Users who did not want their videos to appear in other people’s videos had to manually disable this feature in their privacy settings.
While Facebook and Instagram have historically connected people to content created by their friends, video-based TikTok relies on algorithmic cues and viral content to show viewers highly interesting posts without relying on someone’s network of friends or connections.
The redesign often draws complaints from users, but Mr. Mosseri said that in this case, the loud criticism was also backed up by internal data.
“People are frustrated with the new channel design and the usage data is not very good,” he said. “So, I think we need to take a big step back, regroup and figure out how we want to move forward.”
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday that featured posts currently make up 15% of what people see on Facebook and higher on Instagram, but that percentage will be around 30% by the end of next year.
But Mr Mosseri said Instagram will temporarily reduce the number of featured posts people see.
“When you discover something in your field that you haven’t followed before, there should be a high bar – it should be just great,” he said.
“You must be thrilled to see this. 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 feeds that are recommendations, improve rankings and recommendations, and then – if and when we do that – we can start growing again. I’m sure we’ll do it.”
The Kardashian-Jenner clan has significant influence on social media.
According to Insider, Snap shares fell more than 8% in 2018 after Jenner tweeted that she no longer uses Snapchat because she doesn’t like the redesign of the app.
At the time, Snap lost over US$1 billion (AU$1.4 billion) in market value.
Meta is in the process of updating its social media platforms in hopes of replicating the success of TikTok, a video-sharing app owned by ByteDance with a user base of 655.9 million worldwide.
TikTok’s growth in recent years has been meteoric. Analysts expect its ad revenue to equal that of YouTube by 2024. Last year, it generated more ad revenue than Snapchat.
– From the New York Post
Originally published as Instagram rolls back TikTok style changes after Kardashian backlash