Social media giant Instagram has been under fire for the past few days due to its new update. The app has undergone several changes over the previous decade. It started off as an app devoted to aesthetic photographs.
Then it evolved into including stories from 2016 towards becoming a video-focused app in 2022. But the new update may be a bit too much, as evident from an Instagram post claiming to start a movement and being shared by Kylie Jenner.
The modification which has begun appearing in people’s feeds since May focuses on a TikTok-style format. It forces the user to swipe between individual posts, while also occupying the entire screen. A petition against it, created last week, has garnered over 150,000 signatures and also drawn support from ultra-famous celebrities.
What’s With The New Update?
Basically, it involves forcing Instagrammers to gulp down volumes of irrelevant video content. Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, had announced on 3rd May that the app was heading “to a place where video is a bigger part of the home experience, where content is more immersive – it takes up more of the screen.”
With posts appearing in a larger 9:16 ratio mimicking the likes of TikTok, Instagram is set to present all videos to users in the reel format, with no regard to whether they like it or not. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerburg had declared in February 2022 that Reels is the company’s “fastest growing content format”.
All this means that the changed algorithm will push your friends, family, and favorite divas to the very bottom of your feed unless you willingly search for them. Instead content from accounts you do not follow is going to be rammed down your throat.
Other changes entailing the update include difficulty in muting Insta videos and smoothly scrolling down your feed. These can be attributed to ‘dark patterns’, or the crafts used by websites and apps to drive their users into making unintended choices.
A British user experience consultant, Harry Brignull, had invented the term ‘dark patterns’ in 2010. “When I came up with the idea of dark patterns, I thought it was just a niche thing that was occasionally used. I thought I was really clever for noticing it. And now it’s everywhere.”
Rage Against The Update
In competition with TikTok, some people have complained that Instagram may be ditching the magic it was once famed for. Switching to videos may only mean offering a second-rate version of its rival. The post by Insta user @illumitati has taken the internet by storm, fetching support even from the influencer queens Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner.
Jenner chimed in with the protest, resharing the post that says “Stop trying to be TikTok I just want to see cute pics of my friends.” This may be a warning bell for Instagram staff as previously Jenner had tweeted to her 24.5 million followers in 2018 that Snapchat was “sooo over”. The following week had seen Snap losing about US$1.3 billion.
Several other famous influencers have joined the chorus of backlash. Beauty connoisseur James Charles who has a posse of 22.8 million followers on the app, said, “Instagram is losing the competition and has lost its identity along the way” and “that they’re only making videos to avoid being punished by the algorithm, not because they’re genuinely inspired to, they might be wise to listen.”
Response From Instagram
In answer to all these petitions and protests, Adam Mosseri admitted that a lot has been going on in the app, and it’s being experimented with. About the new update, he said that it’s “a test to a few percent of people out there and the idea is that a more full-screen experience not only for videos but for photos might be a more fun and engaging experience.”
He also reassured that Instagram will not dump its unique photo feature. “It’s part of our heritage. I love photos. I know a lot of you out there love photos.” But then again he gave a dampener to all our hopes and concerns, “That said, I need to be honest, I do believe that more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time.”
Disclaimer: This article is fact-checked
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