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Instagram’s Chief Explains the Latest Changes in the App Following User Backlash

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Instagram's Chief Explains the Latest Changes in the App Following User Backlash

As we noted yesterday, when the Kardashians talk, social media apps listen.

After both Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian shared their support for a campaign which calls for Instagram to ‘stop trying to be TikTok’, in response to its latest algorithm and feed changes, today, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has posted a reply, in which he explains several aspects of concern among the IG community.

Mosseri covers three key elements in his update:

  • The full screen feed – Mosseri reminds users that this is currently only in test mode, and that it’s ‘not yet good’, and certainly not good enough to get a full rollout to all users at this stage (you can read more about the test here)
  • The shift to video – Mosseri says that while video has inevitably become more of a focus for the app, photos remain a key element, and ‘part of our heritage’. Photos are the key focus of the Change.org campaign which Jenner and Kardashian have supported in their posts, with users calling for Instagram to revert back to putting more focus on photo posts from friends in the main feed
  • Recommendations in-stream – Mosseri also addresses the increase of recommended posts in your Home feed, which are posts from people and pages that you don’t follow, interspersed between the posts that you’ve directly chosen to see. Mosseri says that Instagram’s committed to showing people more content that they might like as this is ‘one of the most effective and important ways to help creators reach more people’. I don’t know that anyone buys this – the change is clearly a push by Instagram to maximize user engagement by taking on a more TikTok-like content approach, but that’s the one Mosseri is sticking with

It’s interesting to see the Kardashian Effect once again, with Jenner previously prompting Snapchat to reassess its UI update through her public comments about the change.

The Kardashians have huge influence, with Kylie and Kim having a combined 686 million followers on IG alone. Indeed, since endorsing the Change.org petition to ‘Make Instagram Instagram Again’, more than 70,000 more people have signed on, which has prompted Mosseri to respond, and explain the changes in more specific detail.

But the bottom line, however, is that Instagram is pushing ahead with its changes, in response to user behavior – whether people say that they like them or not.

In his further comments on the updates, in the replies to his video post, Mosseri notes that most of these shifts are happening anyway, regardless of any algorithmic or UI updates, while also suggesting that the loudest critics on Instagram and Twitter are not reflective of broader community sentiment.

Which is pretty much always the case, and Instagram would have the engagement stats, it knows whether its changes are popular and are driving user activity or not. So while many people may be voicing their angst over these updates, the internal numbers tell the true story, which Mosseri says will logically be the guiding light here.

Mosseri also notes that while some are asking for more content from their friends in their main feed, ‘all the growth in photos and videos from friends has been in stories and in DMs’.

That’s another behavioral shift that Instagram needs to contend with – so again, while people may not seem overly happy with the updated display, the numbers show that it’s likely the most effective approach, even if it is a departure from what they’re used to.

Mosseri also says that they’re working on a new process that will prioritize what content to show users based on what they engage with. So if you engage with photos more, you’ll see more of them, same with Reels, Stories, etc.

In essence, Mosseri’s saying that the changes have been driven by broader usage and behavioral shifts, which have, of course, been influenced by TikTok, at least to some degree. But that’s not the primary driver of IG’s strategy.

So while it may feel like Instagram’s losing its differentiation, and becoming more like TikTok every day, the truth will lie in how that relates to ongoing engagement, and whether people end up spending more time in the app as a result of these shifts.

If people really don’t like these changes, and stop going to Instagram as much as a result, then it may be forced to revert back to something like what your main feed was before.

But if it goes the other way, you can expect Instagram to continue pushing ahead with its gradual reimagining of the app.

Also, a PSA for social media marketers:

Worth noting in your approach.



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Musk says Twitter clash with Apple a ‘misunderstanding’

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Musk says Twitter clash with Apple a 'misunderstanding'

Apple CEO, Tim Cook. — © AFP

Twitter owner Elon Musk said he met with Apple chief Tim Cook on Wednesday and “resolved the misunderstanding” that prompted him to declare war on the iPhone maker’s App Store.

“Among other things, we resolved the misunderstanding about Twitter potentially being removed from the App Store,” Musk tweeted.

“Tim was clear that Apple never considered doing so.”

Musk also tweeted a video clip of “Apple’s beautiful HQ” in Cupertino, California, noting that he had had a “good conversation” with Cook.

Apple did not reply to AFP requests for comment.

The world’s richest person opened fire on the planet’s most valuable company early this week over fees and rules at the App Store, saying Apple had threatened to oust his recently acquired social media platform.

The billionaire CEO had tweeted that Apple “threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why.”

Apple, which has not issued a public statement on the matter, typically tells developers if fixes need to be implemented in apps to conform to App Store policies.

Analysts told AFP the clash may have came down to money, with Musk irked that the App Store takes a commission on transactions such as subscriptions.

Musk has delayed the relaunch of the Twitter Blue subscription tier intended to have users pay for perks such as account verification check marks.

Twitter rolled out Blue early in November, but pulled the plug after impersonators paid for check marks to appear legitimate in what former head of safety and security Yoel Roth referred to as “a disaster.”

Both Apple and Google also require social networking services on their app stores to have effective systems for moderating harmful or abusive content.

But since taking over Twitter last month, Musk has cut around half of Twitter’s workforce, including many employees tasked with fighting disinformation, while an unknown number of others have quit.

He has also reinstated previously banned accounts, including that of former president Donald Trump.

Describing himself as a “free speech absolutist,” Musk believes that all content permitted by law should be allowed on Twitter, and has described his actions as a “revolution against online censorship in America.”

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