Composite image of Kylie Jenner and Instagram logo

Kylie Jenner among thousands of Instagram users criticizing social media giant for ‘trying to be TikTok’

If you’ve scrolled Instagram in recent days you may have seen users sharing a black and white graphic with a simple demand: “make Instagram Instagram again”.

The post by user Illumitati, whose real name is Tati Bruening, has been liked and shared tens of thousands of times, including by Kylie Jenner, and has sparked a Change.org petition that has received more than 110,000 signatures.

Here’s why it’s resonated with Instagram users around the world who are desperate for the app to change.

What’s changed on Instagram?

In its most recent update, Instagram has become increasingly focused on video content, and less about photos.

Noticeable changes include the app’s dimensions blowing out — everything is now stretched to the very edge of the screen, and has replaced continuous scrolling with snap scrolling.

Users have also commented that their feeds are now littered with advertising, and the app has become more like TikTok, which is Instagram’s main competitor.

Instagram’s algorithm — or the way it determines which content to serve up to users — is also under fire.

All these changes come back to what Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram said in a video last week: “It’s no secret that we’ve been trying to make Instagram do better by video while still doing right by photos long term.”

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Why are videos so important to Instagram now?

Put simply: TikTok. The short-form mobile video app is Instagram’s main competitor, with around a billion users around the world.

Instagram first launched Reels back in August 2020 in direct response to TikTok’s surge in popularity, around the same time the United States and other countries considered banning it due to privacy concerns.

Instagram has been consistently promoting Reels since it was introduced, and its algorithm tends to favor them — although Ms Bruening’s petition points out that the Reels that perform the best on Instagram are often videos that have previously gone viral on TikTok.

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So just how important are videos to Instagram? So much so that Mr Mosseri announced last week that Reels will be the only video format on Instagram.

“We want Instagram to be simple and easy to use, so all videos moving forward on Instagram are going to be Reels,” Mr Mosseri said.

Instagram has a history of updating its features

Although Instagram has set its sights on competing with TikTok, it’s not the first time Instagram has drastically changed its user experience to remain competitive with other popular social media platforms.

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