Instagram users refuse to “tiktok”, top Internet celebrity Kardashian can’t help it

“Instagram is a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family. Take a photo or video, choose a filter to change its look and feel, then post to Instagram — it’s that simple.”

Instagram, which used to be labelled socializing with acquaintances and sharing beautiful moments, is trying to become TikTok.

For most users of the latter, the greatest joy is to keep swiping to watch the next video, rather than meeting the person who made the video.

Something similar is happening with Instagram. Users' homepages have recently been bombarded with more and more posts from people they don't follow.

This is just part of the Instagram update.

Make Instagram just Instagram?

First of all, perhaps many Instagram users have noticed that the homepage is increasingly showing Reels that don't follow people, rather than still pictures of people following them.

Reels is Instagram’s short video feature, which allows recording short videos and adding music, filters and other effects. It feels like a “copy of TikTok”, but it exists inside Instagram and is not a separate app.

This means that the people we follow, the content we most want to see, are being downgraded by short videos from strangers, forced to follow TikTok-style algorithms and go out of our social circles to see more popular content.

The second change is that about a week ago, Instagram announced that videos within 3 minutes posted by public accounts will be shared and recommended by default in Reels, which is equivalent to expanding the content of short videos.

Officials say this is to "simplify and improve the Instagram video experience." The more likely reason is that, judging from the first quarter earnings report, Reels accounted for more than 20% of Instagram usage time , and it is logical to convert more videos to Reels.

At the same time, Instagram will launch a "remix" feature for Reels, similar to TikTok's "duet" feature, which allows a user's video to be posted side-by-side with another video, enabling interaction and re-creation between creators .

The third change is that in mid-June this year, Instagram tested the "full screen display" function among a small number of users. Whether it is a viewing experience or a sliding experience, it is more like TikTok. However, buttons for favorites, comments, etc. appear at the bottom instead of the side.

Social media influencer and Kardashian sister Kylie Jenner, who has 360 million Instagram followers and is second only to Ronaldo in popularity, felt the series of "TikTok-esque" changes sucked.

On Monday, she called for "make Instagram Instagram again," and she just wanted to see pictures of her friends. Kardashian shared the same post, garnering more than 1.1 million likes.

Top influencers have a fatal blow to social media. In 2018, Kylie Jenner tweeted "Has everyone else stopped opening Snapchat, or is it just me", echoing Wall Street's concerns, causing Snapchat's stock price to plunge 7% on the day, wiping more than $1 billion in market value.

The counterattack doesn't stop there. Over the weekend, photographer Tati Bruening, who has more than 320,000 Instagram followers, launched an online petition to "stop being TikTok," which has been signed by more than 210,000 people.

The main demands of the petition are to show posts on a timeline, stop being TikTok, use algorithms that favor photos over videos, listen to creators who make a living on the platform, and in short, "go back to the roots."

Business Insider reported in May that travel bloggers, known for sharing photos, saw their influence drop in half as Instagram pushed creators to move to video, "which we were told we had to do to get there."

On Tuesday, local time, after a group of "stop TikTokization" voices, Instagram head Adam Mosseri responded that he will continue to bet on video:

I love photos, and I know many of you love photos too. But I have to be honest – I believe more and more Instagram will become video over time.

He believes that this is the general trend of media usage habits. If you pay attention to what people are sharing and consuming on Instagram, you will see more and more videos. So, they had to adapt to this transition while continuing to support photos.

At the same time, Adam Mosseri defended the recommendation algorithm and admitted that the algorithm at this stage is still improving:

Suggesting posts from people you don't follow is there to help you discover new and interesting things you might not know about. If you see recommendations that you're not interested in, we'll keep trying and get better at recommendations. We believe that "recommendations" are one of the most effective and important ways to help creators reach a wider audience.

In short, Instagram is not going back to what it was, video is their future.

The only constant is that Adam Mosseri promises to put content from his friends at the top as much as possible, including the top of the feed and the top of the story.

If you can't beat TikTok, copy TikTok

For the changes in Instagram, many users are not used to it, and there are many criticisms under Adam Mosseri's video response.

But the reasons for the change are not much questioned.

Nothing more than the popularity of TikTok among young users.

Looking at the number of users alone, Instagram is actually ahead of TikTok, the former has about 1.4 billion users , while the latter has 1 billion users.

But at the heart of the question is what is trending and who is using Instagram and TikTok.

▲ Picture from: the guardian

TikTok is the fastest-growing news source for adults in the UK, according to a report by UK regulator Ofcom, and while young people have doubts about its credibility, they enjoy the experience of scrolling through the latest news.

In November, in a survey of more than 4,600 people , Gen Z TikTok users in the US surpassed Instagram.

▲ Picture from: forrester

The Gen Z youth surveyed said TikTok was "more fun and positive" than other social media apps.

On the one hand, TikTok is seen as a way to pass the time, and the endless scrolling of various short video clips continues to attract young Americans – which sounds exactly like the "magic" of Douyin.

On the other hand, they can freely express their abilities (such as dancing) on ​​TikTok, and several of the respondents believe that they have the potential and possibility of becoming famous on TikTok.

From the perspective of big data, according to Sensor Tower, TikTok ranked first in global downloads in the first quarter of this year; Small Business data shows that the average time spent on Instagram globally is 28 minutes, and TikTok is 52 minutes.

In front of TikTok, it is not only Instagram that has a sense of crisis, but also the "sister application" Facebook.

Facebook's U.S. teen users have fallen 13% since 2019 and are expected to drop 45% over the next two years, with its most lucrative advertising market declining. Many young people believe that Facebook is a place for middle-aged people with "boring, misleading and negative content".

On July 21, Zuckerberg announced the restoration of "chronological dynamics" in Facebook, but at the same time, a new algorithm "home page" was added, again imitating TikTok's "For you" page, "Our findings" The engine recommends what we think you care about most.”

▲ Picture from: getty images

Unlike Facebook, which has been ridiculed as a "social network for the elderly", Instagram is Meta's way to reach young people, but TikTok is younger, has more stamina, and is growing faster.

It's too early to criticize Instagram's TikTokization.

On the creators side, Bloomberg notes that this could undercut existing creators, but it could also lure up-and-coming TikTok creators to Instagram.

On the user side, if only a small number of users speak out against it, and most users vote with action and spend more time on the revamped Instagram, then its change will continue.

▲ Picture from: TechCrunch

At least Zuckerberg remains optimistic.

Judging from the just-releasedsecond-quarter 2022 results , Facebook's "engagement trend" is better than expected, mainly due to the increase in video consumption; Instagram's short video feature Reels is also faster than Stories. .

visible and invisible

Behind the emergence of more short videos on Instagram is the reshaping of the recommendation algorithm, which is something we cannot see but is closely related to user experience.

On the first-quarter earnings call of this year, Zuckerberg said :

Short video is just the latest iteration of the many shifts in the type of media people use since the founding of Facebook 18 years ago, and it's growing rapidly.
There has been an increase in short videos and a major shift in AI recommendations. The AI ​​we are building is not just a short video recommendation system, but a discovery engine that showcases the most interesting content shared in our system.

Zuckerberg has long realized that TikTok's powerful recommendation algorithm is the secret to winning, so he pays more and more attention to the algorithm.

In June, The verge reported that in response to TikTok, Facebook was changing its algorithm to focus on enhancing its recommendation system.

Tom Alison, the Meta executive in charge of Facebook, said that people want to connect through content, and they will still prioritize what users want to share with their friends. The main change is that there are not too many restrictions on when and where to recommend content.

On the one hand, Facebook will bring content that meets audience interests in more places and pay more attention to the video experience; on the other hand, Facebook will make it easier for users to share, discuss, and connect with others. For example, one of the tasks of the product team is, Drive users to share short videos with each other on Facebook.

It appears that Facebook, which started out as a social network for acquaintances, is moving away from its original purpose of connecting friends and family.

▲ Picture from: the verge

One Facebook employee worries that the company is being too aggressive in copying TikTok, which he feels is just a “random, AI-delivered video place” and that excessive imitation will lead to a loss of focus on the social graph.

But Zuckerberg believes that people are already using social networks in different ways.

He has noted that users spend half their time on Facebook watching videos, and "people often open our app without explicit intent."

Having said that, from Snapchat to TikTok, Zuckerberg does have a lot of experience in "plagiarism" . In 2009, because the acquisition failed, Facebook also imitated Twitter.

At the time, a media commented: "Although Facebook is already very big, it is as skilled in the face of threats as it has been in the past: if it can't buy Twitter, Facebook will try to defeat it."

In November 2018, Facebook launched Lasso, a short video sharing app that rivaled TikTok. It shut down in July 2020, and the battle was defeated.

In August 2020, Instagram launched the short video function Reels, which also imitated TikTok.

Today, the short video feature is being valued more and more and has become an important growth engine, and Instagram is even becoming more TikTok-like. It's just that the ending of this game has yet to be resolved next time.

Li Ruoqiuhuang, to exorcise evil. Working email: [email protected]

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