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Instagram’s Mosseri: “we’ve got a lot of work to do” on Feed

Instagram head Adam Mosseri has responded to user complaints about Instagram’s new full-screen format and promotion of recommended content over followed account content in the Home feed.

person holding a phone
person holding a phone

During last Friday’s ‘Ask Me Anything’ Stories post, Mosseri acknowledged that the company has “a lot of work to do” to bring the full-screen feed format up to scratch.

In an attempt to compete with the runaway success of TikTok, Instagram’s latest updates see videos and photos displayed in full-screen 9:16 format, and users delivered a slew of recommended content from unfollowed accounts. Instagram feed is also now displayed uniformly on a black background.

We’re moving Instagram to a place where video takes up a bigger part of the home experience, where the content is more immersive, takes up more of the screen [and where a larger part of the feed are recommendations, things we think you might love but you may not have heard of yet,” Mosseri said in a May tweet announcing the changes.

But backlash against the changes has been swift and loud, with users flooding Twitter to complain. In June, the company rolled out a second version of its full-screen format designed to address complaints about the way photos were displayed in the new feed.

On Friday, Mosseri sought to address users’ continued concerns about the new layout and focus on recommended content in feed. Responding to a question that stated “the new layout is disliked by most users”, he said:

“I definitely read reviews and take feedback. I definitely don’t think that the new feed design is working yet. It’s just a test, so if you’re seeing it, you’re in a small percentage of people. But we’ve got a lot of work to do to get it to a good place before it’s shippable”.

Designed to simultaneously support creators and increase the amount of time users spend on the platform, the inclusion of recommended content in the Instagram feed (mimicking of TikTok’s For You feed) has led to users complaining they no longer see content from their favorite accounts.

Mosseri said the “more recommendations-focused version of Instagram” is designed to help people discover new content, and reminded users of the option to ‘snooze’ recommendations in their feeds.

“If you’re seeing stuff you’re not interested in, that means we’re not doing a good job ranking,” he said. “We’ll get better over time.”

Mosseri’s conundrum is clear: respond to the competitive challenge from TikTok while delivering a modern version of Instagram favored by creators and users alike.

The key question is: how much of the current grumbling is down to users’ resistance to change, and how much is down to Instagram overshooting its mark to the detriment of the elements and values in which its success has been rooted?

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