Instagram rolls back some features that make app more like TikTok

29 Jul 2022

Image: © DenPhoto/

CEO Adam Mosseri said that the full-screen feed and pervasive recommendations will be phased out of testing over coming weeks.

Days after celebrities Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian criticised Instagram for trying to be too much like TikTok, the image sharing platform has decided to roll back some of the features it was testing.

Instagram has been doubling down on video, hoping to capitalise on some of the popularity enjoyed by rival TikTok and its short video model. However, many have complained that this takes away from the app’s original identity as an image sharing social media platform.

After widespread public criticism, including a petition asking Meta to “make Instagram Instagram again”, CEO Adam Mosseri told tech newsletter Platformer that Instagram will roll back some of the features it had introduced for testing in recent weeks.

Affecting only some accounts, the changes included full-screen feed, increased presence of recommendations based on rankings by an algorithm and a broader focus on Reels over regular image-based posts.

The full-screen videos and images will now be phased out over the next couple of weeks, and the number of recommended posts will be reduced, Mosseri confirmed.

In a separate video posted on Instagram two days ago, Mosseri stressed the importance of video in the future of the app. “I need to be honest. I do believe more and more of Instagram is going to become videos,” he said to his 1.5m followers.

“If you’re looking at what people share on Instagram – that’s shifting more and more to videos over time. If you’re looking at what people like and consume and view on Instagram, that’s shifting more and more to video over time, even when we stop changing anything, so we’re going to have to lean into that shift while continuing to support photos.

“We’re also going to need to evolve because the world is changing quickly and we’re going to have to change along with it,” Mosseri added.

The push for video comes at a time when Meta saw a more than 30pc increase in the time that people spent engaging with Reels across Facebook and Instagram, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the company’s most recent earnings call.

Last week, Meta announced that the platform’s news feed is being split in two: one with an algorithm that shows you what your friends are up to, and another that curates personalised content in the form of Reels, Stories and posts.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic