Instagram changes and updates draw ire of celebrities and everyone else
Since Instagram has been around, people have complained about it. Hatred of Instagram — and even more so of its sister site, Facebook — is one of the few opinions that seems to be shared by the majority of the internet, but over the past few weeks, it’s grown in fairly significant volume. Last Thursday, Instagram CEO Adam Mussery addressed the criticism in a video, which naturally led to more.
The latest controversy stems from Instagram’s parent company Meta (formerly Facebook) and its tendency to copy features of emerging social media platforms. At the moment, Instagram’s biggest competitor is TikTok, which provides users with an endless feed of short, popular, personalized videos, and has skyrocketed in popularity just as Facebook has started to decline. In an attempt to replicate its success, several of Instagram and Facebook’s latest updates have prioritized “recommended” videos (that is, from random users across the platform as opposed to people you already follow), including ones where people was under a lot of pressure. In a nutshell: “Instagram’s new update really got what I was looking for: none of my friends’ content, reposted TikToks from meme accounts I don’t follow, 100x more ads, everything against my will at full volume It will be played.” A viral tweet.
Outrage erupted when a post by photographer Tati Bruning surfaced online, calling for her to “make Instagram Instagram again” and “stop trying to be TikTok, I just want to see my friends’ pretty pictures.” Sincerely, everyone.” The post, which now has over 2 million likes, was re-shared by some of Instagram’s most powerful users, Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner.
At the same time, dozens of meme creators held a rally called “Instarrection” outside Meta’s New York headquarters on July 23. Although the event did not focus on new updates and instead protested Instagram’s inconsistent and inconsistent moderation practices, which often result in accounts being removed for unclear reasons, it reflected a growing feeling among Instagram users that Instagram is getting worse. Is.
By all accounts, Meta’s shareholders agree. Earlier this year, Meta announced that users were spending less time on its platforms and that it expected revenue growth to slow, sending its shares tumbling 26%, losing $232 billion in the process and becoming the sharpest decline ever. fast for one unit. Stocks in US history The mood is bleak at Instagram and at its headquarters: This summer, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has cut spending at the company while squeezing employees. to “work harder” and threatens to reduce low performance. “There are probably some people in the company who shouldn’t be here,” he told the staff.
Getting mad at Instagram is kind of like getting mad at the president: voicing your frustrations about it is a rational, rational response to a seemingly intractable problem, the problem of too much power in the hands of too few. In 2019, I wrote about how, within a decade of its existence, Instagram had broken our brains and taught us to see each other as commodity brands and to split ourselves in half. In 2021, I wrote about how visual-first social platforms can make as many changes as they like in response to the knowledge that their products hurt users’ self-esteem, but never solve the problem they created. In 2022, I wrote about how Instagram’s relentless focus on video is degrading the site’s content while also dramatically increasing the workload required to succeed on the platform. Instagram has made dangerous misinformation endearing and beautiful destinations intolerable. He has lied repeatedly, and yet people feel they have nowhere else to go.
Last week, Instagram gave in slightly to the growing criticism. In an interview with tech reporter Casey Newton, Mussery said the app is removing one of the new designs it tested and will also temporarily show users fewer “recommended” videos in the feed. The changes aren’t permanent, though: By the end of 2023, Zuckerberg said the number of “recommended” posts on Instagram will more than double. Mossari attributes this change to a change in the way news feeds are used. “In a world where most content from friends has moved from the feed to stories and DMs, I think the feed is becoming more public in nature,” he said.
This won’t be good news for regular Instagram users, those who never describe themselves as a “creator” despite the growing number who do. As one venture capitalist told The Washington Post, “There’s a war between people who want Instagram to be more like Snapchat and people who want it to be more like TikTok. “Now the previous group is bigger and louder.”
The problem is that Instagram doesn’t really care about the size of the other group: instead, Instagram sees the best way to grow a loyal and highly active user base is with the prospect of becoming famous right in front of them. So video is only a means to achieve this goal. “I think one of the most important things is that we’re helping new talent find an audience,” Moussari added. “If we’re going to be a place where people move culture forward, to help fulfill the promise of the Internet, which puts power in the hands of more people, I think we have to get better at that.”
Oddly enough, some of the buzziest new social apps of late—BeReal, NGL, and Locket—have nothing to do with fame. In BeReal, users view snapshots from mutual contacts, while Locket allows them to share images directly on each other’s home screen. NGL, meanwhile, is a question-and-answer app that became a popular game on Instagram Stories this June, where people with access to a link could ask a poster anonymous questions. None of them promise the complete digitization of the social circle that Facebook and Instagram do, nor do they offer the possibility of going viral.
Meanwhile, Instagram has decided to be everything to everyone. As Meta continues its spin towards the so-called “Metaverse”, a yet largely theoretical vision where Bitmojis hold meetings (?), it looks to be even more. What remains in question is whether US antitrust laws will really be enforced to prevent Meta from using the same monopolistic practices there, and to what extent Meta can continue to expand its vast and unprecedented power on the Internet. As much as everyone is mad at Facebook and Instagram right now, it’s likely to get worse.
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