Instagram to Roll Back Test Features After Backlash

Instagram is temporarily pausing its roll out of product features seen by some critics as attempting to emulate TikTok after the Meta-owned platform faced backlash over the changes from high-profile users like the Kardashians and Chrissy Teigen.

Some of the new test features, which rolled out to some Instagram users over the past few weeks, included a full-screen feed that emphasized short-form videos on Reels and an increase in recommended posts from accounts that users are not following. Those features will now be paused or decreased, according to a Meta spokesperson, though there is no timeframe for when they may return to the platform.

“Based on our findings and community feedback, we’re pausing the full-screen test on Instagram so we can explore other options, and we’re temporarily decreasing the number of recommendations you see in your feed so we can improve the quality of your experience,” a Meta spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter. “We recognize that changes to the app can be an adjustment, and while we believe that Instagram needs to evolve as the world changes, we want to take the time to make sure we get this right.”

In the past few days, criticism of the new features came to a head after creators like Kylie and Kim Kardashian shared a post from the photographer Tati Bruening (@illumitati) to their Instagram stories that called on the company to “stop trying to be TikTok” and return to a feed that emphasized photos from friends and other accounts that users follow.

The pushback even compelled Instagram head Adam Mosseri to share a video on Tuesday explaining the changes, where he described a future of Instagram that focused on videos while “continuing to support photos.” In response to the video on Twitter, Teigen chimed in to say that users “don’t wanna make videos” and are seeing lower engagement for photos.

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By Thursday, Mosseri acknowledged that users were “frustrated” and Instagram needed to take a “big step back.”

“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,” Mosseri told the reporter Casey Newton for his Platformer newsletter. “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.”