Instagram is killing a big product overhaul after the Kardashians and other influencers vented frustrations about it

Instagram is killing a big product overhaul after the Kardashians and other influencers vented frustrations about it
Instagram ReelsCHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images
  • Instagram will phase out its full-screen test in the coming weeks.
  • It has been focusing more on video in an apparent effort to compete with TikTok.

That didn't take long.

Amid growing criticism, Instagram said on Thursday that it was walking back some of its recently announced changes, including a full-screen version of the app.

"I'm glad we took a risk — if we're not failing every once in a while, we're not thinking big enough or bold enough," Instagram boss Adam Mosseri told Casey Newton's Platformer on Thursday. "But we definitely need to take a big step back and regroup. [When] we've learned a lot, then we come back with some sort of new idea or iteration. So we're going to work through that."

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Instagram had been testing full-screen videos and photos, similar to competitor TikTok, which will soon be phased out, according to Platformer.

Instagram has been focusing more on video recently in an apparent effort to compete with TikTok, but it has resulted in growing criticism, including from influencer and model Kylie Jenner, who has over 300 million followers on Instagram.


She shared a petition on her story this week that called to "Make Instagram Instagram Again."

Some of the changes that have irked celebrities, influencers, and other Instagram users will eventually be implemented, however. Mosseri told Platformer that the company was temporarily scaling back the use of its recommendation algorithm, which places content in users' feeds from accounts they don't already follow.

"When you discover something in your feed that you didn't follow before, there should be a high bar — it should just be great," Mosseri told Platformer. "You should be delighted to see it. And I don't think that's happening enough right now. So I think we need to take a step back, in terms of the percentage of feed that are recommendations, get better at ranking and recommendations, and then — if and when we do — we can start to grow again."

But Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday told investors in the company's second-quarter earnings call that the company planned to more than double the amount of recommended content in Facebook and Instagram feeds by the end of next year. Currently, a little more than 15% of content in Instagram users' feeds is recommended content, Zuckerberg said on the call.

The company is also poised to continue the expansion of Reels, its TikTok competitor introduced at the end of 2020. In the Wednesday earnings call, Zuckerberg said that viewing Reels accounted for about 20% of the time people spend on Instagram.


Mosseri in the interview published Thursday said that Reels were likely the future of Instagram's feed. He claimed that "personal sharing" of photos was happening more in stories and in direct messages than in the feed.

"Feed could be, and to some degree is, a place to discover things to talk about with your friends. With Reels, we're seeing this happen a lot," he said. "Reels are inspiring a lot of conversations — people just send funny videos to their friends that they've discovered in feed."

Read the full interview with Mosseri over at Platformer.