Instagram to ‘double down’ on controversial video and Reels changes next year

Company will ‘rethink what Instagram is’, says chief executive

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 29 December 2021 17:12
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Instagram will “double down” on the recent controversial changes it has made to its app, its chief executive has said.

The company will “rethink what Instagram is”, said Adam Mosseri in an end-of-year message. “The world is changing quickly and we’re going to have to change with it,” he said in a video.

That will include an even larger focus on video and its Reels product, which looked largely to borrow from the success of TikTok in sharing short videos with music over the top, in a scrollable feed.

In recent times, Mr Mosseri has said that Instagram is no longer a photo-sharing app, and he repeated that suggestion in the latest video. Instagram’s belief that it is not about sharing pictures but videos too has been reflected throughout the app, with a range of changes aimed at encouraging people to move away from just sharing still images.

Those changes have proven controversial, and some have failed to find success among users. Instagram launched IGTV as an attempt to provide a home for longer videos – but shut it down in October, and said that those videos would be included in the main feed.

The new video focus will mean focusing on its Reels product instead, Mr Mosseri said. Instagram will “consolidate all of our video products around Reels and continue to grow that product”, he said.

He also pointed to other upcoming changes including the addition of new monetisation tools for professional Instagram users, better parental controls, improved messaging tools and the re-introduction of the chronological feed.

Instagram has been making a number of changes in recent months in an attempt to keep growing and borrow from the features that have led competitors such as TikTok to see more popularity.

Some of those attempts to find more users have met with criticism, such as an “Instagram Kids” app that aimed to get young children onto the app. That was paused in September amid criticism from lawmakers and experts.

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