Petition against Instagram to remove newer features that “copy TikTok”
Instagram is under fire for introducing new features and structure to the app that mirror that of competitor apps — features that its users don’t want
Instagram is being criticized by its users for copying the features of its competitor, TikTok, as many additions to the app draw too close of a comparison with the rival app. An emphasis on videos being posted over pictures, and moving to a “recommended content” algorithm instead of showing family and friends’ content on users’ feeds has many wanting to “Make Instagram Instagram Again.”
Instagram user Tati Bruening (aka, “Illumitati”) made a petition in response to Instagram’s changes, saying on the app, “Stop trying to be TikTok, I just want to see cute photos of my friends. Sincerely, Everyone.” The petition urges Instagram to bring back its original chronological timelines, showing posts from only users you follow, eliminate “reels” — short videos made by various app users — and return to primarily photo posts.
Instagram users have had complaints about the app being oriented toward promotion and advertisements on the app, but even content creators are unhappy with changes that have been made. The Instagram user who started the petition is also an online influencer and wrote in the petition’s description, “It feels wrong to switch the algorithm on creators that have made a living and contributed to the community, forcing them to change their entire content direction and lifestyle to serve a new algorithm. Listen to the community. Take our thoughts and requests into consideration!”
Though the petition has been up for less than a week, it currently has more than 170,000 signatures, and has been acknowledged by larger pop culture icons, as well. Sisters Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian have both pleaded for Instagram to revert the recent changes to the app, adding to their stories screenshots of Illumitati’s original post to announce the petition.
The Kardashians have shared their criticisms of social media platforms in the past and have gotten results. Back in 2018, Jenner told her then 24.5 million Twitter followers that she no longer used Snapchat. She shared her criticisms of the app’s changes — some changes very similar to those Instagram is now receiving backlash for — and Snapchat’s stocks fell by 7% ($1.3 billion in market value) soon after.
Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri responded to criticism on Tuesday, saying in a video that users’ concerns had been heard, but as newer changes are being tested, nothing is set in stone.
“I want to be clear, we’re going to continue to support photos. It’s part of our heritage,” Mosseri said in a video. “That said, I need to be honest. I do believe that more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time.”
Mosseri said that content being posted on the app is gradually shifting to videos, and what people view and like match this change. Because of this, the app will need to “lean into that shift” by promoting videos while allowing people to still post photos. Mosseri also addressed the recommended posts Instagram shows its users, even when they aren’t following the user who had posted the content.
“The idea is to help you discover new and interesting things on Instagram that you might not know even exist,” he said. “We’re going to continue to try and get better at recommendations because we think it’s one of the most effective and important ways to help creators reach more people.”
Mosseri said that if users would prefer not to receive recommendations instead, they can “snooze” them for up to a month in the app’s settings. However, he said that the best way Instagram can support its smaller creators is primarily through recommended posts and the most common media in these posts were in video format.
“(We’re) gonna need to evolve because the world is changing quickly, and we’re going to have to change along with it,” Mosseri said.