Instagram Head: ‘Instagram is No Longer a Photo Sharing App’

Instagram is looking to focus its attention on competing directly with TikTok and as a result, its head Adam Mosseri says that the popular app is no longer a photo-sharing app, but will shift to entertainment, video, and shopping.

“We are no longer a photo-sharing app,” Mosseri says bluntly in a video posted to Twitter. “The number one reason people say they use Instagram, in research, is to be entertained.”

He explains that he recently told the company that because of this data, he and therefore Instagram will “lean in” to the entertainment trend and video. Mosseri says that TikTok and YouTube are “huge” competitors to Instagram, and notes that in order to stay relevant, the app must evolve.

“And so people are looking to Instagram to be entertained, and there’s stiff competition, and there is more to do and we have to embrace that,” he continues. “And that means change.”

As part of that, Mosseri references a change that is already in testing that involves showing users more recommendations in feeds that may not be directly related to accounts that are specifically followed. In previous coverage, PetaPixel noted that this shift would make Instagram theoretically function similarly to how YouTube manages its “home” page. TikTok functions similarly with its recommendation algorithm that ranks videos based on several factors. Because Mosseri says that Instagram is pivoting specifically to challenge TikTok and YouTube, it appears to be following in those company’s footsteps with regard to how it delivers content.

While an early version entered testing last week, Mosseri says that a newer version of recommendations is coming that includes topics, where users can tell Instagram what kinds of topics they want to see more or less.

But beyond that, as a company, Mosseri says that Instagram’s goals moving forward are to “embrace video more broadly” beyond its IGTV, Reels, and Stories integrations. He says that Instagram wants to focus on more full-screen, immersive, “mobile-first” video experiences over the “square photo-sharing app” that it has been since it was founded.

The broad goals that Mosseri talks about have few details or pointed strategic notes, but it does point to a major shift in how Instagram sees itself and what users can expect from the platform moving forward. Clearly, the rise of TikTok has Instagram worried as it pivots to be more like it and less like what Instagram has thus far been.