Instragram CEO Adam Mosseri rebuffed criticism Tuesday that the social media platform was rapidly changing to become more like TikTok, telling users that while photo-sharing will always be an integral part of the app, “more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time.”
After big-name celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian criticized Instagram for evolving into a TikTok-like service, Mosseri uploaded a video on Twitter to inform users on why he believes the changes were necessary.
“We’re going to continue to support photos, it’s part of our heritage. You know I love photos, I know a lot of you out there love photos too,” Mosseri said. “That said, I need to be honest — I do believe more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time.”
“We see this even if you change nothing. We see this even if you just look at chronological feed,” he added. “We’re going to have to lean into that shift while continuing to support photos.”
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, which owns Instagram and Facebook, has been pushing for more video-focused content after the rise of TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance. TikTok has dominated much of social media since its inception in 2016.
During a staff conference with Meta employees in February, Zuckerberg pushed for an increased focus on video content, citing an “unprecedented level of competition,” Bloomberg reported at the time.
Instagram has copied the playbook of other social media apps before, implementing the Stories feature to mimic the idea of Snapchat, an app that allows you to post videos and pictures that disappear after 24 hours.
The new focus on Reels, which are short video clips that were first introduced to Instagram in 2020, have become a lightning rod of criticism for many of the app’s users.
Both Jenner and Kardashian, who frequently use Instagram, have backed a petition calling for the social media app to “Make Instagram Instagram Again,” and to “stop trying to be TikTok.”
The petition, launched by a celebrity photographer who says the focus on Reels and videos are taking away from photo-content creators who rely on the app, now has more than 157,000 signatures on Change.org.
“There’s no need to overcomplicate things, we just want to see when our friends post, the beauty of Instagram was that it was INSTAntaneous,” the petition reads. “Back in the dawn of the app we were all living in the moment, seeing our best moments in real time.”
Mosseri on Tuesday addressed other issues, including “recommendations,” or posts that feed into user’s feeds from accounts they do not follow. He said those recommendations can be snoozed, but the algorithm was intended to boost smaller content creators.
The Instagram CEO argued that while changes were necessary, Instagram will still be Instagram.
“A number of things about Instagram are going to stay the same,” he said. “But we’re going to need to evolve because the world is changing quickly and we have to change along with it.”