Instagram to Jenner: We’re not turning back on ‘TikTok’ changes

Instagram has acknowledged problems with its recent product changes but vowed to continue its push to video, full-screen posts and algorithm-driven recommended posts from strangers after a wave of criticism, including from one of the world’s most famous influencers, Kylie Jenner.

The app’s boss, Adam Mosseri, issued a video statement overnight in the wake of Jenner’s public request to reverse the changes and “stop trying to be TikTok” that did not reference the beauty entrepreneur and model but addressed her criticism.

Instagram head Adam Mosseri has emphasised that the company still cares about photos but will not stop “leaning in” to video. Credit:AP

He said he understood the criticism, admitting that the redesigned user interface being tested on some users, is “not yet good”, but said the company would keep working on it and its recommendations engine.

Mosseri was even more forthright about Instagram’s determination to make videos more important on the service.

“We’re going to continue to support photos. It’s part of our heritage. I love photos. I know a lot of you out there love photos too,” he said. “That said, I need to be honest, I do believe that more and more of Instagram is going to become videos over time. We see this even if we change nothing.

“So we’re going to have to lean into that shift while continuing to support photos.”

Mosseri said if users were not enjoying recommended posts, they could pause the feature for up to a month at a time or switch to a feed of posts from people they are following.

Instagram is owned by Meta, the giant social media company that also owns Facebook and WhatsApp, making it a wildly profitable and valuable juggernaut over the past decade. But it has lost about half its value since the beginning of the year as interest rates rise, many firms cut advertising budgets and its rival TikTok becomes the social media time sink of choice for many young people.

In response, Instagram has adopted a raft of features similar to the China-founded app.

On Tuesday, New York time, Meta shares slid about 4.5 per cent, wiping billions from the company’s value amid a wider sell-off triggered by the giant American retailer Walmart slashing its earnings forecast just as companies including Meta are about to report their results.

Meta has rebounded from scandals and user unhappiness before. It navigated a shift from users accessing Facebook on computers to smartphones in the early 2010s, which presented an existential risk at the time. And it has successfully copied popular features, such as Instagram stories, from competitors like such as Snapchat.

But TikTok is a particularly tough competitor because its algorithm for video recommendations ing learns fast and is very accurate. Meta founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told staff in a call on June 30, a recording of which was obtained by technology site The Verge, that it would take 12 to 18 months before Meta had “line of sight” to passing its rival.

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