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We all know how finicky social media users can be about change. One day we love a platform. The next, it’s the worst app ever. Sorry, Myspace. Forgive us Yahoo! So when the folks at Meta made the unfortunate misstep of releasing an Instagram update that features photos and video in a full-screen TikTok-esque layout, it was no surprise that the backlash was immediate and intense.

Just some of the headlines making digital and real-world noise:

“Instagram’s New Update Sucks: If I Wanted To Scroll On TikTok, That’s Where I’d Fkn Be.”

“Instagram Users Vow To Boycott App Over ‘Horrendous’ New Layout.”
And our personal favourite, “The Kardashians hate the new Instagram.”

Wow. The last time a Kardashian (or rather Jenner) had a bone to pick with a social media platform, Snapchat lost $1.3 billion in a day after Kylie Jenner tweeted that she no longer uses the messaging app, calling it “so sad.”

For many users, the new Instagram update has also turned their app’s background black without changing the settings which some fans do not appreciate or care for.

According to Mark Zuckerberg, the decision to transition Instagram to a new interface was “to make it easier to discover content and connect with friends,” a contradictory statement when one considers that Instagram has been transitioning from less in-feed photo engagement posts to more reels, and that IG’s algorithm is intentionally designed to reduce organic post reach which drops engagement numbers.

Since switching from its original chronological feed to one generated by the aforementioned algorithm, Instagram has introduced several video-related features to the app, including Reels, Carousels, Collabs and IGTV. Videos length has also increased to 10 minutes long, with select accounts able to upload videos up to 60 minutes long, all of which take away from what the app was originally designed for – to share photos. For many IG users, the June 2022 update was simply the last straw in Instagram’s long-standing history of deviating from its original purpose and leaving people stuck in a feedback loop that continues to get worse over time.

The June IG update sparked a further outcry through the now-viral ‘Make Instagram, Instagram Again’ petition that tore through Instagram, amassing over 290 000 signatures on Change.org, and having the support of high-profile celebs such as Ariana Grande, Adam Levine, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, David Beckham and Justin Timberlake bringing further traction.

Within a month, in response to public pressure, Instagram made the smart choice to revert its updates with Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri quotes as saying:

“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” and that the platform will “come back with some sort of new idea or iteration.”

For now, it seems that a stitch in time has saved nine, but if Instagram is set on its goals of pivoting to a video-first app, it will be interesting to see how the app is gradually reimagined and the responses from Instagram users.

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