Internet | July 27, 2022 3:27 pm

Instagram’s CEO Just Became Public Enemy Number One

Verified and non-verified Twitter users alike spent yesterday slamming Adam Mosseri over Instagram's pivot to video

We just want to see our friends' photos.
We just want to see our friends' photos.

Instagram has been a very bad app for a very long time.

What was once a beloved social media platform where users could view photos of their friends and families in chronological order has devolved into an app most of its user base finds miserable to use. And for years, Instagram’s users have been critically outspoken against the changes Meta, who acquired the photo-sharing platform in 2012, has made to the app over the past decade.

The first nail in the coffin came in 2016 when Instagram decided to remove the chronological feed and replaced it with an algorithm-based feed that shows posts it thinks you would be most interested in. Shortly after, Instagram introduced “stories,” a blatant rip-off of competing app Snapchat’s stories; then in 2018, they added a shopping tab to the explore page.

The app soon became Meta’s next advertising platform, aggressively interspersing ads between about every four to five posts on the main feed and every three Instagram stories. By 2020, Instagram had swapped its Activity tab on the main navigation bar for the Shop tab, solidifying it as an e-commerce app. That year it also launched its short video feature “Reels,” a shitty version of the popular video-sharing app TikTok.

Now in 2022, my feed is a horrible mix of advertisements, video performances of stand-up comedians I don’t know and recommended posts from accounts I don’t, and will never, follow. The days of scrolling through lovely photos of my friends and their dogs are gone, possibly for good, as Instagram is making a strong pivot to video.

The app’s latest update, which was rolled out to select users for testing in June, includes a new full-screen mode for its feed which looks an awful lot like the aforenamed video-sharing app.

As is tradition, Instagram users, including some of the platform’s most prominent users, vehemently hate the new update. Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian announced their distaste for Instagram’s move to video by sharing a not-so-subtle post from another Instagram user that reads, “Make Instagram Instagram again. (Stop trying to be tiktok i just want to see cute photos of my friends). Sincerely, everyone.”

This announcement from the Kardashians likely prompted Adam Mosseri, the CEO of Instagram to address the new update on Tuesday (Jenner is the third most-followed person on Instagram). In a video posted to Twitter, Mosseri embarrassingly agreed that Instagram’s new feed sucked and admitted that, while he knows Instagram users desperately just want to see photos of their friends on their main feed and not random Reels from accounts they don’t follow, “more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time.”

The reason, Mosseri further explained in a string of desperate follow-up tweets, is because Meta’s data has shown growth in Instagram stories and DMs, rather than in users’ main feeds.

Mosseri’s tweets set off a good old-fashioned Twitter pile-on where verified and non-verified Twitter users alike read the Instagram CEO to filth. Former Twitter darling Chrissy Teigen replied to Mosseri’s video with a simple, “we don’t want to make videos Adam lol,” then proceeded to have a back and forth with Mosseri.

Meanwhile, other users were correctly pointing out the reason why there has been more engagement with Instagram stories and video content.

For years Instagram’s algorithm has deprioritized in-feed photo content to the point where users have been forced to upload more Instagram stories if they want their followers to see their content. Creators and artists who rely on Instagram for business have also long complained that engagement with in-feed photo content has sharply declined. The only way to fuel engagement, they say, is to start creating and posting Reels.

Despite the literal thousands of angry tweets directed at Mosseri and the platform he’s decimated, it seems Meta just doesn’t care what its user base wants and will likely continue its bungled attempt to turn Instagram into TikTok with a lot more ads — an interesting choice considering it would be lightyears easier for the company to not tank its own app and, simply, let us see photos of our friends in the order in which they were uploaded.