Instagram said on Thursday it would reverse several recent updates to its photo-sharing app after Kylie Jenner and other celebrities joined users’ backlash against the changes and criticized the platform for trying to look too much like TikTok.
Instagram said it would pause testing full-screen photo and video posts, which the app had introduced to replace its typical appearance of posts that take up only part of the screen. The app, which is owned by Meta, also said it would temporarily decrease the number of posts to user feeds its algorithm recommended, a new feature it had been testing.
TikTok, the popular Chinese-owned video app, displays full-screen videos, most of which are recommended by its algorithm.
“We recognize that changes to the app can be an adjustment, and while we think Instagram needs to evolve as the world changes, we want to take the time to make sure we get it right,” Meta said in a statement.
Technology newsletter Platformer previously reported on Instagram’s decision to roll back the changes.
Some of Instagram’s most followed users had criticized the updates. On Monday, Jenner and her half-sister Kim Kardashian shared a picture on Instagram that read, “Make Instagram Instagram again. (stop trying to be tiktok, I just want to see cute pictures of my friends). Sincerely, everyone.”
In response to the criticism, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, posted a video on Tuesday explaining the updates and defending the app’s move to video. He also acknowledged that some of the changes were still in the works, calling them “not good yet.”
Meta has been trying to transform some of its flagship products into ones that better mimic competitors. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, spoke publicly about how TikTok has become a formidable challenge to people’s attention, saying his company needed to act quickly to keep up with viral trends and new features from those rivals.
In a call with investors Wednesday after Meta reported its first quarterly revenue decline as a public company, Zuckerberg said Instagram Reels, a video product, was driving growth and user engagement. He said the company hoped to double the product category over time.
Zuckerberg also touched on the shift toward “algorithmic discovery” of new and suggested content, a trend that has given TikTok enormous success by putting popular videos in users’ feeds, even if they don’t come from friends or groups they’re interested in. following.
Last week, Instagram introduced features to encourage collaboration between users on photo and video posts and announced that all videos would be shared as Reels, which were released as TikTok-like short video montages. Zuckerberg also unveiled a feature for the main Facebook app last week that will push more videos and suggested content into users’ feeds, much like TikTok does.