Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, has admitted that the platform that once claimed it was no longer a photo-sharing app made a mistake and pushed video too hard to its users last year.
In an Instagram story, Mosseri admits that the company “overfocused” on video in 2022 and all but apologized to photographers over what proved to be a failed test last year.
Since Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours, The Verge transcribed Mosseri’s words.
“We definitely have a number of photographers who have been upset. I want to be clear: though we are leaning into video, we still value photos. Photos will always be a part of Instagram,” the Instagram head says, basically walking back previous statements about the platform.
“I think we were overfocused on video in 2022 and pushed ranking too far and basically showed too many videos and not enough photos. We’ve since balanced, so things like how often someone likes photos versus videos and how often someone comments on photos versus videos are roughly equal, which is a good sign that things are balanced. And so, to the degree that there is more video on Instagram over time, it’s going to be because that’s what’s driving overall engagement more,” he continues.
“But photos are always going to be an important part of what we do. And there are always going to be people who love and are interested in finding photos on Instagram and elsewhere. And I want to make sure that we’re very clear about that.”
A Failed Experiment
For half of 2021 and the better part of 2022, Instagram tried its best to wholesale copy TikTok in an attempt to better compete with that app’s rising popularity. After boldly declaring that Instagram was no longer a photo-sharing app, the social media company experimented with multiple changes to the app including a very TikTok-like full-screen home feed — a decision that was extremely poorly received.
In the face of widespread backlash and the fact the app was falling behind TikTok and YouTube in all aspects of creator satisfaction, Mosseri and Instagram walked back most of these changes and claimed that the balance between Reels and photos was more even.
Image credits: Header by Anthony Quintano, CC by 2.0