What you need to know
- Facebook's head of Instagram has revealed the company has big changes planned for the platform.
- It is testing new full-screen mobile video content and recommended video feeds, apparently trying to copy the success of TikTok.
- Adam Mosseri confirmed the app is "no longer a photo-sharing app".
Instagram head Adam Mosseri has confirmed that Facebook has decided to ruin its app by turning to full-screen video content and recommended video feeds, stating it is no longer a photo-sharing app.
In a 2:26 minute video posted to Twitter (for some reason), Adam Mosseri talked about the future of the app. In his video, he confirmed Facebook will begin testing new "full screen, immersive, entertaining, mobile-first video", and plans to "experiment with a number of things in this space over the coming months". He confirmed Instagram plans to show users full-screen videos in their feeds, recommended by algorithms that will include content from accounts they don't already follow. Essentially, Instagram is going the way of TikTok in a move that could reduce its standing amongst some as one of the best social media apps for iPhone and iPad.
"We're no longer a photo-sharing app or a square photo-sharing app", Mosseri admitted as he announced the huge changes. "Let's be honest, there's some really serious competition right now... TikTok is huge, YouTube is even bigger, and there's lots of other upstarts as well."
Mosseri said that people look to Instagram to be entertained and that there was "stiff competition" and "more to do".
Plenty of people took to the internet to express their displeasure, including Time's Alex Fitzpatrick:
Fitzpatrick said "every day it becomes more clear why Systrom and Krieger left", Instagram's founders who walked away not long after the company was bought by Facebook.
"Instagram is realising being thought of as a photo-sharing app is fairly narrow and limiting," social media commentator Matt Navarra told iMore. "Instagram has also grown substantially in recent years, with a substantial number of new features and content formats added. By reframing Instagram as a broader and more all-encompassing entertainment app, it positions itself closer to rival platforms such as TikTok."
Navarra says that 2020's "rise of the creator" has pushed all social platforms to shift development priorities, with Instagram moving to shopping, short form video, and messaging. He says the move comes as Instagram " recognises it needs to give creators and businesses more reasons to choose its platform vs. rivals", preparing itself to fight for a slight of the creator economy, or to dominate it altogeher.
The public outcry attached to Fitzpatrick's tweet was so great Mosseri actually jumped in to try and clarify his comments stating "To be clear, I meant "we're not just a photo-sharing app." I might need to do more than one take next time…", but the damage was already done for some, one photographer replying "Thank you for saying it loud that Instagram for photographers is very much dead. It's now some version of TikTok trying to become YouTube."
Mosseri did not give a more specific time frame for when testing of these changes might begin, or who exactly can expect to receive them.