Instagram to Pull Back TikTok Ambitions Amidst Backlash

Instagram is looking to reverse course on a number of aspects previously pitched to the public. In its ambitious attempt to capture some of that TikTok magic, the company wanted to make a number of changes. However, due to user reactions, some of those are being rolled back.

Earlier this week, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri addressed its users and said that “more and more of Instagram is gonna become video over time.” However, it only took a few days for Mosseri to reverse course. As changes to the app’s display and feeds came to the surface, Instagram received pushback.

“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 told The Verge. “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’s reported that the display changes that saw full-screen photos and videos hit user feeds will be phased out in the next week or two. While there does appear to be a real shift in video for Instagram, its design changes and outright forceful push into a TikTok-like landscape weren’t received well.

“For the new feed designs, people are frustrated and the usage data isn’t great,” Mosseri said. “So there I think that we need to take a big step back, regroup, and figure out how we want to move forward.”

Additionally, Instagram plans to show fewer recommended posts. Over on Meta’s Facebook, recommended posts take up about 15 percent of what a user will see while navigating feeds. By 2023, that percentage is said to increase up to 30 percent. Instagram is now looking at reducing the number of recommended posts on Instagram. Though, the percentage is unknown.

TikTok is the most downloaded app globally. It has more than 3 billion downloads globally. Owned by ByteDance, TikTok is the first non-Meta app to reach such milestones, according to Sensor Tower. Naturally, this makes TikTok quite the competitive force for Meta and Instagram. Although Instagram is reeling (pun intended) back its changes, they all seem to be temporary.

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