Updated: May 14
by Katie Nalle
App updates continue to lack creativity when it comes to providing advanced features for social media users to experience, which is nothing new. Instagram is an exception to this rule. The platform updates fairly frequently and often implement major changes with each update. These changes have previously enraged the apps’ users, especially for the most recent update.
Meta—the company that owns both Instagram and Facebook—is notorious for trying to keep up with trends set by competing social media platforms. In an attempt to keep up with Snapchat’s incredibly popular Stories feature, Instagram and Facebook also added the Stories feature to their platform. Then, Instagram became TikToks’ largest competitor by introducing Reels to their platform, ultimately mimicking TikToks’ video app format.
While the Reels page on Instagram already mimics the algorithm and content shown on TikToks’ For You page, the recent Instagram update has further changed the app’s interface and layout to be even more similar to TikTok. Instagram’s homepage, which would ordinarily show posts from people you follow and the occasional ad, now pushes content from popular accounts or posts they think you may like. This change has shifted the platform away from the feature that originally drew many users to the app. The ability to personalize your homepage to only see posts from people you are interested in is a feature that not many other apps offer. Facebook and Twitter both offered trending and featured posts amongst preferred content, while Instagram didn’t. Even with the addition of Reels, the homepage remained unchanged until now.
Complaints spread beyond the platform in late July when dozens of content creators rallied at Meta’s New York headquarters. Celebrities, including Kylie Jenner, spoke out about their displeasure with the recent changes to the app. This is unsurprising given that data released by the tech company itself implied that their stocks have been plummeting and users have been spending less time on the platform in recent months. This downward trend could be dangerous for Instagram considering how quickly social media sites tend to dwindle in popularity.
Some of these updates were removed by Meta after receiving many complaints from the app’s users. However, we can likely expect these updates to be implemented again in the near future. According to representatives at Meta, the purpose of these updates are to turn Instagram into more of a news-based app. They are hoping to fill the homepage with more than double the recommended posts it currently has to move toward this goal. With the addition of recommended posts to the app’s homepage already causing uproar from users, Meta may need to rethink their future plans for the platform.