Photographers have taken to social media to complain about Instagram’s recent video-centric changes to compete with TikTok, declaring that the app “hates” them.
Instagram has made no secret of its move towards video and adopting more TikTok-like features in 2022. In the last few weeks, the app has double-downed on this move — testing a change that turns all video posts into its TikTok-clone reels and adding a new ‘Live Producer’ tool that will allow creators to stream live videos from their desktop.
Complaints mounted against the app on social media last week after a tweet by commercial and editorial photographer Inari Briana went viral. In the tweet, Briana says “Instagram hates photographers I’m convinced.”
Instagram hates photographers I’m convinced
— Inari NOT Briana . (@inaribriana) July 12, 2022
Briana’s tweet quickly amassed thousands of likes and encouraged comments from other photographers on Twitter who shared their frustration with the app in recent months.
Photographer Glenn Charles replies to Briana’s tweet, “Instagram wants to be TikTok and now just completely sucks,” to which another user concurs, “I haven’t seen a post from anyone I actually follow in months. Just random reels.”
I haven't seen a post from anyone I actually follow in months. Just random reels
— Richard Splooge | 8–D💦.eth (@HDergler) July 12, 2022
Several users were disgruntled by the way Instagram were abandoning photographers after they helped the app into the tech giant it is today.
“Never maximized the platform for photographers. But that’s who brought them their first loyal base. And they have done nothing but drive photographers away since being purchased by Facebook,” says photographer and writer, Bay Charles.
Never maximized the platform for photographers. But that’s who brought them their first loyal base. And they have done nothing but drive photographers away since being purchased by fb.
— bay charles (@CharlestonBay) July 12, 2022
Photographer Ashley Nicole among others, complained about how Instagram no longer pushes her photographs in the algorithm, favoring Reels instead. “I went from getting a couple thousand likes on every photo to now maybe one hundred. The other day I only got thirty six likes. I have nearly twenty five thousand followers. I don’t understand what’s happening,” says Nicole.
I went from getting a couple thousand likes on every photo to now MAYBE 100.
The other day I only got 36 likes lol
I have nearly 25k followers. I don’t understand what’s happening
— ash (knock off Billie Eilish) (@ashhpotato) July 12, 2022
Several photographers on the viral Twitter thread say they are now considering diversifying and moving their content to several different photo-sharing apps, as Petapixel suggested in a story in December.
Photographer and filmmaker Valerie Robinson writes: “As a photographer, Instagram is my least favorite platform. I’ve started focusing more on housing things on my site and blog instead.” While camera collector and photographer Aaron Ramirez similarly says: “That’s why I’m working on uploading more content to my website. The IG algorithm is no longer geared towards still photography.”
That's why I'm working on uploading more content to my website.
The IG algorithm is no longer geared towards still photography.
— Aaron (@pjlove10) July 12, 2022
Others put Twitter forward as the new major photo-sharing app with Atlanta-based photographer Til Edwards noting that “the reality is, you have to post Reels to grow” on Instagram now and Twitter “has been a better place to be.”
Following the uproar by photographers on Twitter earlier this month, Instagram head Adam Mosseri tried to backtrack on his video announcement last year that the app was “no longer a photo-sharing app.”Axios editor Alex Fitzpatrick mourned Instagram’s alienation of photographers with their recent changes, leading Mosseri to tweet, “To be clear, I meant “we’re not *just* a photo sharing app.” I might need to do more than one take next time.”
To be clear, I meant “we’re not *just* a photo sharing app.” I might need to do more than one take next time…
— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) June 30, 2021
In an interview with USA Today this weekend, social media strategist Christina Olivarez commented on why Instagram’s focus on video has been negatively received among users who don’t want another TikTok clone.
One frustration users have with the app is that its algorithm “is not prioritizing people that we already follow,” says Olivarez, such as with Instagram pushing random Reels over photos posted by people user follow on feeds.
“It is trying to get in the same realm as TikTok,” says Olivarez. “And so I do feel like there are things that they should kind of prioritize a little bit more versus just trying to overly compete with TikTok.”
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.