Social networking platform, Instagram, has said it is rolling back several recent updates to its photo-sharing app after Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, and other celebrities joined a user backlash against the changes and castigated the app for trying to be too much like TikTok.
Meta-owned Instagram said it would pause tests of full-screen photo and video posts, which the app had introduced to replace its typical look of posts that take up just a portion of the screen.
Also, the app said it would temporarily decrease the number of posts in user feeds that its algorithm suggested, a new feature that it had been trying out.
TikTok, the highly popular Chinese-owned video app, shows full-screen videos, most of which are recommended by its algorithm.
“We recognize that changes to the app can be an adjustment, and while we believe that Instagram needs to evolve as the world changes, we want to take the time to make sure we get this right,” Meta said in a statement on Thursday.
The technology newsletter, Platformer, reported earlier on Instagram’s decision to reverse the changes.
Some of Instagram’s most followed users had criticised the updates. On Monday, Ms. Jenner and Kim Kardashian, her half sister, both shared an image on Instagram that read: “Make Instagram Instagram again. (stop trying to be tiktok i just want to see cute photos of my friends.) Sincerely, everyone.”
In response to the criticism, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, posted a video on Tuesday explaining the updates and defending the app’s move to video. He also acknowledged that some of the changes were still in process, calling them “not yet good.”
“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,” Mosseri told Platformer. “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.”
He also said he’s “confident” that once the app scales down on recommendations and regroups on what consumers actually want, Instagram will “start to grow again.”
Mosseri also shut down speculation that the timing of his video lined up with the response from Jenner and Kardashian, saying he recorded the video the night before he saw their reposts of the petition.
Regardless of whether people were excited or apprehensive about the changes, Mosseri said he thinks the situation is “getting conflated” and his goal is to “untangle those things” so consumers understand the reasoning behind Instagram’s decisions.
“I think we need to do a better job making sure it’s clear why something is better, and explaining something before it happens, so we don’t surprise people,” Mosseri said.
However, the Instagram head noted that the rollback in changes will not be permanent as the company continues to navigate both redesigning the app and maintaining its original intent.
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