You may have noticed that your Instagram feed has become impossible to use recently. There are no more photos of your friends, there are too many suggested posts that are just straight-up TikToks uploaded to Reels, and if you’re especially unlucky, your app now looks like a bunk version of TikTok. Adam Mosseri, the front-facing camera vlogger moonlighting as the head of Instagram, wants us to know that they’re just testing things out right now, but also that we should all suck it up.
“There’s a lot going on on Instagram right now,” Mosseri said in a video on Tuesday. “We’re experimenting with a number of different changes to the app, and so we’re hearing a lot of concerns from all of you.”
These “concerns” have been bubbling up for quite some time now, so why talk about them now? Could it be because on Monday both Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian — who have a combined total of 686 million Instagram followers — shared a graphic on their Stories that read “Make Instagram Instagram Again… (stop trying to be TikTok I just want to see cute photos of my friends.)”? Almost definitely.
Don’t forget that in 2018 Jenner single-handedly wiped out $1.3 billion of Snapchat’s market value just by tweeting, “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me... ugh this is so sad.” More powerful words have never been spoken.
So Mosseri is in damage control mode. In his video, the NYU Gallatin alum assured users that the “full-screen version of a feed” is a test to “a few percentage of people out there.” He then noted bluntly that the new version of the app is “not yet good,” which is a humiliating thing to have to admit about your own product. In light of that, Mosseri begged, everyone should stop bitching while Instagram gets its shit sorted (okay, I’m paraphrasing).
Mosseri also said that while people claim to want to look at photos, that’s not what the data shows, and that Instagram is going to keep pushing videos into your feed whether you like it or not. It’s safe to assume that that also applies to advertiser-paid sponsored posts, which Mosseri did not bring up, but which make up like 30 percent of the posts on any given scroll through the feed.
His last point was about recommendations, the posts you see on Instagram from someone you do not follow and never would follow. According to Mosseri, these are one of “the most effective and important ways to help creators reach more people.” I’m sure Jenner and Kardashian do not want to see videos of “creators,” they want to see photos of their friends, a.k.a. exclusively models and celebrities and luxury lingerie entrepreneurs.
Mosseri said a lot of words and made a lot of hand gestures in his explanatory video, but to translate tech dude speak into a more common parlance, he’s basically telling us to nut up or shut up. There’s no money in your stupid little photo dumps or your local animal shelter’s slideshows of adoptable pets; the future clearly lies in becoming a poor man’s version of TikTok, regular users and Jenner-Kardashians be damned.