In 2018 Kylie Jenner tweeted that she no longer opened Snapchat, which resulted in the company’s share price plummeting by $1.3 billion.
So, when Jenner (who has 361 million Instagram followers) recently complained about Instagram’s new algorithm to push short-form video, those in the social sphere took note
And it’s not just the reality TV star who’s commented on the social platform’s changes; her sister Kim Kardashian, Chrissy Teigen and influencers alike have all joined a petition to ‘Make Instagram Instagram again’.
The widespread criticism has come off the back of Instagram trying ‘too hard’ to compete with rival short-form video site TikTok. The platform had been testing full screen videos and photos and a new algorithm that recommended videos to users, effecting reach, engagement and in some cases income of celebrities and influencers.
Following the growing backlash, Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri took to Twitter to explain that it will be reversing some of the controversial changes to its display and algorithm. Mosseri said “I’m glad we took a risk — if we’re not failing every once in a while, we’re not thinking big enough or bold enough. Feedback from our community is crucial to getting this right, and we will continue to iterate and explore new options based on what we’re hearing.”
However, creators still aren’t happy as they believe the decision is temporary and that Instagram will continue to look at pushing video and prioritising it. Analysts believe the changes are inevitable as social platforms fight for advertising revenue and users increasingly seek video entertainment online.
While Instagram may have tried to change the algorithm, the people using the platform haven’t. Static content may no longer be the priority, but for Instagram’s OGs, it’s still very much the reason they use it. It’s uncertain when Instagram will reintroduce the suggested Reels algorithm as they intended to, but if they do, will creators adapt or leave? It remains to be seen, but what we do know is that whenever any of these social platforms go through a redesign, it’s high risk and can backfire. There is no guarantee of success, but they also do need to keep reinventing themselves.