It was only a matter of time, but it looks like Gen Zs have ruined Instagram.
But it’s not actually really their fault.
In fact, Instagram may have taken itself out.
But first, what actually happened? And why is the app suddenly so cringe?
It’s down to a few things.
Firstly, many users are complaining about not being able to see their friends’ posts anymore due to a barrage of sponsored and creator content.
Secondly – and perhaps most importantly for Gen Zs – is Instagram’s copycat strategy. With TikTok becoming so popular with Gen Zs, Instagram decided that they needed to be more like TikTok to appeal to Gen Zs.
So they brought in a much-hated fullscreen mode which meant instead of a smooth scrolling experience through photos and videos in your feed, you instead swiped between them much the same way as TikTok operates.
This came with the introduction of short-form TikTok-like videos called Reels, and changes to its algorithm that resulted in users feeds being deluged with reels from creator accounts they don’t follow.
So while Instagram made these changes for Gen Zs, Gen Zs certainly didn’t ask for them, and in the end didn’t want them. In their misguided attempts to appeal to the tastes of teenagers today, Instagram actually ended up alienating them.
Hundreds of thousands of fed-up Gen Zs signed a petition called ‘Make Instagram Instagram again (stop trying to be TikTok, I just want to see cute photos of my friends’).
Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner – some of the world’s biggest social media influencers – signed and shared the petition, and even The Daily Show host Trevor Noah chimed in, saying: “Everything is an ad, and your feed is full of people you don’t follow.”
The petition’s creator Tati Bruening begged Instagram not to ‘overcomplicate’ things.
“We just want to see when our friends post, the beauty of Instagram was that it was INSTAntaneous. Back in the dawn of the app we were all living in the moment, seeing our best moments in real-time.”
“We have TikTok for a reason, and let’s face it, the only reels uploaded are recycled TikToks and content that the world has already seen.
“Let’s go back to our roots with Instagram and remember that the intention behind Instagram was to share photos, for Pete’s sake.”
But hold up – before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s take a moment to reflect on why the changes to Instagram were made in the first place.
With Gen Zs ‘killing Facebook’ and abandoning Instagram in favour of TikTok, Meta felt it faced an adapt-or-die scenario.
They admitted that this time they got it wrong.
“Based on our findings and community feedback, we’re pausing the full-screen test on Instagram so we can explore other options, and we’re temporarily decreasing the number of recommendations you see in your feed so we can improve the quality of your experience,” a spokesperson for Meta told Euronews.
“We recognise that changes to the app can be an adjustment, and while we believe that Instagram needs to evolve as the world changes, we want to take the time to make sure we get this right”.
So what’s Instagram going to come up with next to reel Gen Zs back in?
According to them, Instagram just has to keep doing what it has been doing all along, and stop being so hyper focussed on copying the competition that it loses sight of what makes it great in the first place.
And to get rid of all the reels in your feed you just need to click the three buttons at the top right of the post and select it to mute all recommended reels in your feed.