Kylie Jenner Says, ‘Make Instagram Instagram Again,’ but CEO Says Shift to Video Is Inevitable

Kylie Jenner Says, ‘Make Instagram Instagram Again,’ but CEO Says Shift to Video Is Inevitable
Kylie Jenner judging Instagram execs for trying to turn the app into TikTok. (Photo: Frazer Harrison, Getty Images)

Kylie Jenner, the youngest of the Kardashian-Jenner sisters that the internet loves and hates to obsess over, can move markets with her social media posts. Among the 360 million people following her is Instagram chief Adam Mosseri, who appeared like a genie from a lamp Tuesday morning after she voiced her displeasure with changes he’s made to the social network.

On Monday, Jenner decried recent tweaks to the photo-sharing app, a platform where she is the third most followed account and most followed woman. In a story — published four days after Instagram announced that all new videos under 15 minutes would be turned into Reels — Jenner shared a post from photographer Tati Bruening that evoked former President Donald Trump: “Make Instagram Instagram Again.”

“Make Instagram Instagram Again. (stop trying to be tiktok i just want to see cute photos of my friends.) Sincerely, Everyone,” the post read. Jenner added her own plea to the story, writing: “PLEASEEEEEEE.”

Kylie Jenner Says, ‘Make Instagram Instagram Again,’ but CEO Says Shift to Video Is Inevitable

Her sisters, Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, also shared Bruening’s post, adding “pretty please” and “yes please,” respectively.

Bruening’s post, which went up over the weekend, called on folks to work together to “bring back the old Instagram.” The photographer told users to share her post in their stories and sign her petition on Change.org. Directed at Instagram and its parent company Meta, the petition asks the powers that be to bring back chronological timelines, stop mimicking TikTok, go back to an algorithm that favours photos over videos, and be a platform that listens to creators.

“We have TikTok for a reason, and let’s face it, the only reels uploaded are recycled TikToks and content that the world has already seen,” Bruening wrote. “What’s innovative and unique about old stale content? Nothing!”

As of publication, the petition had more than 136,000 signatures.

The fact that Jenner complained about Instagram’s changes may seem trivial, but it’s a red flag that something is wrong. When she tweeted to complain about Snapchat’s new layout in 2018 and said she wasn’t using the app anymore, the company lost $US1.3 ($2) billion.

Mosseri, head honcho at Instagram, is no doubt familiar with this incident. He rushed to address the concerns raised by Jenner, Bruening, and other users.

In a Reel posted on Tuesday morning, Mosseri said Instagram was experimenting with several different changes to the app. Upon hearing users’ concerns, he wanted to clarify a few things, he said. First, he pointed out that there a small percentage of users that are seeing a full-screen version of the Instagram feed. This is something the app is testing, and Mosseri acknowledged that it’s “not yet good” and would require more fine tuning if the company decided to roll it out to all users.

When it comes to shift away from photos, which encompass a big chunk of recent complaints, Mosseri stated that he “love[d] photos” and that Instagram would continue to be a place for photos in the future. Yet, he remained committed to the platform’s shift to video and maintained that this would happen even if Instagram changed nothing.

“That said, I need to be honest, I do believe that more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time,” Mosseri said. “We see this even if we change nothing. 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.”

Lastly, Mosseri addressed the slew of recommended posts and videos Instagram was serving up to users lately from people they do not follow (in excess, in my opinion). The Instagram chief defended recommendations as a way to help users discover new things but admitted that if users were seeing content that they were uninterested in, that meant the app was “doing a bad job ranking.”

Mosseri said that Instagram would continue to try to improve its recommendations — no doubt inspired by TikTok’s addictive algorithm — because they were critical to help creators, especially small creators, reach new audiences and grow their followings.

“Now, this is a lot of change all at once, but know that a number of things about Instagram are going to stay the same. We’re going to stay committed to creators more broadly. We’re going to stay committed to supporting photos. We’re going to stay in a place where we try and put your friend’s content at the top of feed and at the front of stories whenever possible,” he said. “But we’re also going to need to evolve, because the world is changing quickly and we’re going to have to change along with it.”

In case you were keeping track, while Mosseri was diplomatic in his response, he basically said, “I hear your concerns… but yeah, not happening.”