Social media platform Instagram is undergoing serious changes, and its users are not happy. They’re sending a message to the company that it needs to be what it was created to be and not try to emulate surging social video competitor TikTok.
Instagram was once a place for people to share photos with friends, family and followers. Now its parent company, Meta Platforms Inc., is making major changes to the site to add emphasis on videos and Reels from celebrities and influencers — and even random strangers — whom users are not following, NPR said.
It’s all part of an effort to keep up with TikTok, the Chinese-owned video platform that has changed social media in just the last couple of years. Meta’s Facebook and Instagram have significantly more monthly active users, 2.9 billion and 1.5 billion respectively, than TikTok’s 1 billion, but Meta wants a cut of TikTok’s audience.
And Instagrammers aren’t having it.
Everyday Instagram users and as well as celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner are now circulating a Change.org petition calling on Instagram to “MAKE INSTAGRAM INSTAGRAM AGAIN” and to “stop trying to be tiktok i just want to see cute photos of my friends.” The petition, signed “SINCERELY, EVERYONE,” has a list of demands:
- “BRING BACK CHRONOLOGICAL TIMELINES!” Users say they want to see friends’ posts when they publish in real time and be able to live in the moment.
- “STOP TRYING TO BE TIKTOK!” Petitioners note that there’s nothing innovative about the Instagram changes. The IG Reels, they say, are nothing more than “recycled TikToks and content that the world has already seen.”
- “AN ALGORITHM THAT FAVORS PHOTOS!” Viewers want the company to get back to focusing on photos, not videos.
- “A PLATFORM THAT LISTENS TO CREATORS!” Instagram creators who make a living using the platform are feeling cheated and forced to change their direction and lifestyle to meet the new algorithm.
Meta Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg told employees last month that the new Reels feature would be a “huge opportunity” for the company, Reuters reported. He added Reels is currently only about 15% the size of TikTok and that it would take some time before the format would be able to challenge TikTok for leadership in that arena.