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  • Writer's pictureAlexander Matambo

Instagram: End of the App as You Know It?

The head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, recently declared that it is “no longer a photo-sharing app”, as Facebook focuses on competing with TikTok and YouTube in short video clips.

One of the biggest reasons for this is the recent growth in the popularity of video content on all major platforms.

This strategy shift from the core of Facebook's most vital revenue growth engine risks alienating a large portion of its 1bn users. This is particularly concerning as these changes are coming at a time when younger users are already migrating to other social media platforms.

Instagram is also prioritising private messaging, e-commerce and influencers, instead of its original mainstay of friends posting photos in a feed, Mosseri said in a video posted online, as he pointed to “huge” competition - TikTok.

According to Mosseri, internal research indicates that users top reason for going onto Instagram was to be "entertained". This follows a significant shift in the industry, as many social media companies are repositioning themselves as hubs for entertainment or shopping, making monetisation and content moderation easier than individual personal posts.

The comments hint at Instagram's intention to work even harder to take on TikTok, which it has already started doing with the introduction of Reels, which replicates TikTok's core features.

Mr Mosseri suggested more changes to come. “You’ll see us do a number of things, or experiment with a number of things in this space over the coming months,” he said in the video posted to Twitter.

A notable feature that Mosseri references involves showing users more recommendations from accounts they may not be directly following. Theoretically, this would make Instagram function similarly to how YouTube manages its homepage. TikTok's recommendation algorithm also functions similarly, ranking and recommending videos based on a number of factors. As Mosseri mentioned that Instagram is pivoting specifically to challenge YouTube and TikTok, it seems to be following in the footsteps of how those platforms deliver their content to audiences.

The broad point that Mosseri mentions gives few details or strategic notes, but it does indicate how Instagram sees itself and gives the users insight on what to expect from the platform going forward. Evidently, the rise of TikTok has shaken Instagram up as it pivots to be more like it.

Is a pivot the right move for Instagram? Will the platform regret deprioritising its roots in photography? Only time will tell, and we are here for the ride.


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