Instagram’s attempt to mimic TikTok has incurred the wrath of two of the most powerful social media stars in America, half-sisters Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner.
In recent weeks, Instagram has been making drastic changes to how it operates, including showing short video “reels” on users’ homepage instead of the images that made the site popular, and adding so-called “recommendations” to users’ feeds.
These changes have apparently upset Kardashian and Jenner, among others.
On Monday, Jenner published an Instagram Story containing a screenshot of a Change.org petition calling for Instagram to “MAKE INSTAGRAM INSTAGRAM AGAIN (stop trying to be tiktok I just want to see cute photos of my friends).”
“PLEASEEEEEEE,” Jenner added at the bottom of the screenshot.
Kylie Jenner shares post speaking out against Instagram’s recent updates. pic.twitter.com/XpxnUz7TZd
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) July 25, 2022
Kardashian, Jenner’s half-sister, reportedly later also shared the exact same post but wrote “PRETTY PLEASE” instead of “PLEASEEEEEEE.”
According to multiple reports, the sisters’ growing anger against Instagram could spell trouble and potentially even doom for its parent company, Meta, and its founder, the one and only Mark Zuckerberg.
The two hold influence over millions of young Americans. Indeed, this isn’t the first time that Jenner has flexed her influence to try and spur change.
“In 2018, after a Snapchat redesign gave the company grief, Jenner tweeted that she doesn’t open the app anymore. Snap’s stock lost roughly $1.3 billion in value over the following day,” according to The Verge.
As of Saturday morning, the Instagram petition she and Kardashian had shared was already up to a quarter million signers.
That’s a lot of signatures, and $1.3 billion is a lot of money, so it’s no wonder Instagram desperately tried to explain itself.
In a video posted Tuesday, Instagram head Adam Mosseri argued that the social media network’s simply “experimenting with a number of different changes to the app,” including the introduction of more video content.
“Now, I want to be clear. We’re going to continue to support photos. It’s a part of our heritage, you know. I love photos. I know a lot of you out there love photos too. That said, I need to be honest. I do believe that more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time. We see this even if we change nothing,” he said.
“We see this even if you just look at chronological feed. If you look at what people share on Instagram, that’s shifting more and more to videos over time. If you look at what people like and consume and view on Instagram, that’s also shifting more and more to video over time, even when we stop changing anything. SO we’re going to have to lean into that shift while continuing to support photos.”
He also addressed the recommendations.
“Recommendations are posts in your feed from accounts that you do not follow. The idea is to help you discover new and interesting things on Instagram that you may not know even exist. Now, if you’re seeing things in your feed that are recommendations that you’re not interested in, that means that we’re doing a bad job ranking, and we need to improve. And you can X out a recommendation,” he said.
“You can even snooze all recommendations for up to a month, or go to your following feed. But we’re going to continue to try and get better at recommendations because we think it’s one of the most effective and important ways to help creators reach more people. We want to do our best by creators, particularly small creators, and we see recommendations as one of the best ways to help them reach a new audience and grow their following.”
As seen below, the post provoked heavy backlash from blue-check celebrities:
👋🏼 There’s a lot happening on Instagram right now.
I wanted to address a few things we’re working on to make Instagram a better experience.
Please let me know what you think 👇🏼 pic.twitter.com/x1If5qrCyS
— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) July 26, 2022
we don’t wanna make videos Adam lol
— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) July 26, 2022
Why do you never listen to your users?
— Laurie March (@Laurie_March) July 26, 2022
It sucks right now. Stop trying to be TikTok. I don’t want to make videos.
— roxane gay (@rgay) July 26, 2022
People are doing more video because it’s the only way to get better engagement, photographers are being forced to make reels when they don’t want to. Make instagram instagram again, not TikTok
— Andy Brown (@AndyBrownMusic) July 28, 2022
I have 42k followers. Currently about 2k people see my stills. When I post reels you show to many more people and engagement is higher. THIS DOES NOT MEAN PEOPLE LIKE REELS MORE. This means you’re suppressing my pics and showing everyone sodding Reels
— Sasha Wilkins (@LibertyLndnGirl) July 28, 2022
The pushback worked.
“Based on our findings and community feedback, we’re pausing the full-screen test on Instagram so we can explore other options, and we’re temporarily decreasing the number of recommendations you see in your feed so we can improve the quality of your experience,” a Meta spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.
“We recognize that changes to the app can be an adjustment, and while we believe that Instagram needs to evolve as the world changes, we want to take the time to make sure we get this right,” the spokesperson added.
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