Instagram’s rough week, explained

Instagram’s been TikTok-ifying its app. Now, Meta’s in a pickle.

Someone recently told me they stopped using Instagram and, instead, scroll through Airbnb for fun.

Others are doing that, too. Not the Airbnb thing, but the spending-less-time-on-Instagram thing.

For many, the preferred destination is TikTok. So to combat the trend, Instagram’s been making increasingly blatant moves to TikTok-ify itself.

This week…

… new updates gave rise to an angry mob which included Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian.

  • By bringing algorithm-driven recommendations to feeds, funny clips from a random 15-year-old in Nebraska could theoretically outperform Kim K’s yacht pics. Hence the uproar.

In response, Instagram head Adam Mosseri, quite literally looking like a Minion, said that the updates need work but video is still the focus.

To make matters worse, all this was followed by Meta posting its first-ever quarter of declining sales Wednesday.

Then yesterday…

… in an interview with tech reporter Casey Newton, Mosseri said Instagram will walk back these changes so the company can design a better experience around them.

But while his update may have eased the tension, Meta still finds itself in a pickle.

  • On one end, it’s squeezed by TikTok in terms of engagement and ad dollars. On the other, it’s working toward the Metaverse, and a strong Instagram is necessary to fund its virtual future. (Apple, in the meantime, is finalizing its own VR headset.)

For the time being, Mosseri has put out the fires. Perhaps now he can figure out why my friend is more interested in scrolling Airbnb than Instagram.

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