That’s probably not ideal for Instagram and its new approach to sorting content, as it seeks to follow the runaway success of TikTok.
As you may recall, earlier this year Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg signaled upcoming changes to the approach to how it sorts content in user feeds, with a Go from your home feed curated by your social or following graph to more AI-recommended posts displayed, “even if the content wasn’t posted by a friend or someone you follow.”
This change has been most evident on Instagram, where more and more of your main feed is now dominated by posts – mostly short video clips – from profiles you don’t follow, which has made it harder to follow the content of those you have actually chosen to follow in the app.
This approach has been a big hit for TikTok, expanding the amount of engaging content it can show users to scroll through. But many Instagram users are less than happy with the new experience, with nearly 100,000 of them signing a new Change.org petition calling for Instagram to go back to how it was.
The petition was started by influencer and photographer Tati Bruening, who wants the app to return to its photo-sharing roots.
And a particularly influential voice has now also added his voice to these calls.
Kylie Jenner is one of the most influential voices among young users, with over 360 million followers on IG alone. When she speaks, people listen, and already her endorsement of the petition has helped spark thousands of other sign-ups in support.
And if the story goes by the past, Instagram should also listen to what Jenner is saying.
In 2018, Jenner tweeted this comment regarding Snapchat’s redesign, which many were also upset about:
sooo is anyone else not opening snapchat anymore? Or is it just me…ugh that’s so sad.
— Kylie Jenner (@KylieJenner) February 21, 2018
This comment preceded a sudden drop in Snap shares.
As reported by Vox:
“Jenner’s ambivalence about the app seems to have an immediate effect on Snapchat investors. By the close of trading on Thursday, Snapchat’s stock had fallen 6%, an estimated loss of between $1.3 billion and $1.6 billion market value.”
Vox further notes that several factors played into this decline, it’s not just Jenner’s comments. But they were a big deal – although a similar Change.org petition to return Snapchat to its original format also attracted more than 1.2 million supporters at the time.
And it worked, sort of. Snapchat has re-enabled some features and refined its approach as requested by users. Jenner’s comments, along with the petition, therefore sparked a change.
Will it happen again this time?
Really, it’s kind of annoying to see Instagram drift further and further away from its original format, especially since it’s clearly being driven by TikTok and its desperate attempt to maintain relevance.
In many ways, that makes sense. Short video is the fastest growing content format on IG, and as user habits change and Instagram continues to lose engagement time to TikTok, it clearly needs to evolve to meet changing expectations.
The question then becomes, do people really want a TikTok-like experience on Facebook and Instagram, or does each app serve a different purpose?
And if so, should Meta just accept that usage of its apps will likely decline in favor of TikTok, at least in some elements?
It seems unlikely that Zuck and Co. are willing to compromise, especially with their online ad business, which likely means Instagram won’t back down, per se, despite this new push.
But there could be impacts. Again, when Jenner speaks, many, many people listen, which could ultimately drive more users to TikTok, the opposite of the intended effect of Instagram’s changes.