The People Vs Instagram: Kylie Jenner's Impact On Proposed Instagram Updates
“Make Instagram Instagram Again (stop trying to be TikTok, I just want to see cute photos of my friends)” reads a petition by Tati Bruening on Change.org with over 300,000 signatures at last viewing. The people have spoken!
Over the past year, Meta have been desperately trying to improve the Instagram app – in other words, make it more like TikTok to compete with the viral video platform popular with Gen Z. We’ve already devoted several blogs to Instagram Story updates and the in-feed experience, but now it looks like Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri, has had to walk back a few proposed changes due to user feedback.
After repeated announcements by both Mark Zuckerberg and Mosseri about upcoming changes, users started to push back – with the help of billionaire Kylie Jenner. While Meta tried to move forwards with more AI-driven, video-focused in-feed content, Jenner and others signed a viral petition to move back to the more traditional photo-first platform that we all knew and loved when it first launched. The post on Instagram currently sits at 2.2m likes!
Before you start to wonder what a member of the Kardashian family has to do with a social media platform, let us refresh your memory. Back in 2018, Jenner sent out a simple tweet about no longer using Snapchat very often, causing shares of Snapchat parent company to sink by 6.1%. She might not be a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, but Jenner’s opinion clearly has a massive sway over social media app development.
After the original backlash to proposed changes, including showing more ‘recommended’ content from accounts that the user doesn’t already follow, Mosseri replied with some empathy but doubled-down on the plan outlined by Zuckerberg. Just a few days later, possibly due to the additional pressure caused by Jenner’s support of the petition, he walked back that response:
“For the new feed designs, people are frustrated, and the usage data isn’t great. So, there I think that we need to take a big step back, regroup, and figure out how we want to move forward.”
It’s hard to say how long Jenner and her supporters can hold back the tide as Instagram continues to lose users to TikTok, but it does seem like Reels are having success in the field despite being a blatant copy of their competitor’s format. Fingers crossed we one day get to see photos from friends, family, and our favourite brands on the Instagram feed again! For now, we’ll continue to watch the drama unfold and keep you all updated.