Instagram is Testing Unskippable Ads

Meta adds AI chatbot to Instagram

In a move almost certain to anger users, Instagram is reportedly testing a feature that makes ads “unskippable.”

The new feature, if one can call it that, seems to appear in user’s feeds, where ads already show up. However, according to The Verge, users can’t scroll past these posts until the ad plays.

Not only was the feature spotted by users on Reddit and X, formerly Twitter, but an Instagram spokesperson also confirmed the existence of these super-charged ads to The Verge. In a Reddit post, one user uploaded a screenshot of an ad on their Instagram feed with the words “Ad break” appearing at the bottom next to a pause button and a circular timer around it.

“A small thing at the bottom shows up saying Ad break, during this time you have to scroll up or down to find an ad and stare at it,” the Reddit post reads. “Once you do a timer will start running from 6 seconds to 0. During these six seconds, you have to stare at an ad.”

byu/FireCubX inInstagram

Unsurprisingly, this didn’t go over well.

“Now, I am already sick of the amount of ads that Instagram shows but this? This is next level. This isn’t YouTube where we should be forced to watch an ad before a video. At least on YouTube you know that you’re getting something in return cause you chose to click on a video,” the poster continued.

“They’re shooting themselves in the foot, endless scrolling is one of the most addictive parts of social media… and they got rid of it for a single ad that will cause most of the userbase to close the app,” a commenter added.

“Like they literally don’t already do double ads when you’re watching stories and every third post is an ad. Crazy,” said another commenter.

It’s certainly an interesting move on Instagram’s part considering advertisements, especially those users can’t skip, are reviled in just about every corner of the internet. TikTok, arguably Instagram’s biggest competition at the moment, also has ads that appear in people’s feeds, but (at least right now) people can keep scrolling past. The same is true for YouTube Shorts, its TikTok and Instagram Reels competitor. Though some YouTube videos have ads that cannot be skipped or, more often, which can only be skipped after a certain length of time has passed.

It’ll be more than interesting to see if Instagram rolls this change out to a larger audience.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.