Instagram Is Over: Trending News Buzz
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With two billion active users and 500 million daily stories posted and viewed, Instagram has roughly two billion active accounts. That’s a whole lot of time on screen. But recently, there have been rumours (and shouts from the Kardashians) that the platform might soon go the way of Neopets, Myspace, Bebo, and Friendster, all of which were once huge social media sites. Could the app that gave us belfies, brunch photos, and Instagram faces really be going away?
Basically, it’s all because of the app TikTok. You may have noticed that Instagram is looking and acting more and more like a social media site started in China. This is mostly because of its “Reels” feature. “Reels” came out in 2020, right after TikTok became popular, and lets users record and edit “multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and new creative tools,” as Instagram puts it. So, it makes sense that Reels are often called “TikTok clones.” If you open the app and scroll through your feed right now, you’ll mostly see Reels content from accounts you don’t follow in the same fast-paced way as on TikTok.
It’s no accident that these copies of TikTok now take up most of IG’s timeline. Meta, which owns Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and more, saw that people spend a lot more time on TikTok than Instagram and got a little bit jealous. Don’t they want a bigger piece of the content pie? After all, it’s business. They have even paid media companies to post reels to help video become the most popular thing on the platform.
But most Instagram users don’t like the changes. Likes and comments on image posts are going down, mostly because most people don’t even see them in their feeds. If it’s not a reel, the algorithm won’t look at it. Creators, businesses, and even regular people who just want their friends to see their vacation photos have had to make quick changes or risk a big drop in engagement. Not just content creators who are having trouble making a living are unhappy. Even the most famous people on social media are bothered by how TikTok is taking over Instagram. Kylie Jenner recently told the 364 million people who follow her on Instagram about a campaign to “Make Instagram Instagram again.” It’s the best kind of activism.
At first, Adam Mosseri, who is in charge of Instagram, just shrugged off these complaints. In fact, he went in the opposite direction, saying that “more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time” – or, in other words, “get used to it.” But this approach might turn people away from scenes instead of keeping them there.
“At its core, it seems the biggest issue Instagram has is not directly listening to its creators” – JORDAN MULVANEY, CREATIVE DIGITAL STRATEGIST AT THE DIGITAL FAIRY
Eve Lee, founder of The Digital Fairy, a creative agency that focuses on internet and youth culture, says that Instagram is “wildly insecure” about not being the number one driver of hype culture and consumption. This makes them ignore the quality of the user experience. Jordan Mulvaney, a creative digital strategist, agrees: “At its core, it seems that Instagram’s biggest problem is that it doesn’t directly listen to its creators. Instead, they use users’ actions inside the app to decide where they go, even though these actions are caused by the app’s flaws.
Instagram said, “Videos are hot, photos are not.” Everyone rushed to make videos because they were afraid their careers, sales, engagement, or whatever else would go down. Then Instagram said, “Wow, look at that! Now, most people make videos.” This means that when people complain about changes made because of video, Instagram can back them up with data that shows people want video, even though they were the ones who made the change.
Ironically, by trying to copy TikTok, Instagram is leaving its current users with nowhere to post their photos. This lets other apps like BeReal, which has been downloaded 29,200% more than it was last year, try to catch up. The app isn’t exactly the same as Instagram, but it does let you share photos and have other people see them.
So, is Instagram really going away even as we watch? Well, if you look at the numbers, it’s not really true. Two billion accounts is hardly a small number of customers. Mulvaney and other smart people think the platform could be “in purgatory” and that it could make a comeback “if it takes the recent backlash into account.”
And the backlash seems to have shook up Instagram’s top people a little bit. Mosseri quickly took back his first statement that people should just get over it. He said that he wants to “keep supporting photos,” and, to be fair, the feed has been looking a bit more photogenic in recent days. But Instagram needs to figure out who it is if it wants people to stick around for a long time. Those guys in Silicon Valley probably need to do some soul-searching to figure out what they really want Instagram to be. Everyone at those meetings, best of luck!
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