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Instagram needs to change in order to keep up with ‘really serious competition,’ the app’s top exec says

  • Instagram’s top exec, Adam Mosseri, announced upcoming changes to Instagram.
  • “We are no longer a photo-sharing platform,” Mosseri said in a video posted to social media.
  • Instagram plans on making changes to how it is tackling video and recommending content.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Instagram is “no longer a photo-sharing app,” Adam Mosseri, the app’s top exec, said in a video shared across social media.

And while Mosseri later clarified his bombshell of a line (he tweeted that he really meant to say Instagram is no longer just a photo-sharing app), the Instagram exec still has some major changes in store for the app. 

Video is a top priority. 

“Let’s be honest, there’s some really serious competition right now,” Mosseri said. “TikTok is huge. YouTube is even bigger.”

Instagram has thus far tried to compete with the two leading video platforms with Reels (its TikTok copycat) and IGTV (its YouTube competitor).

Mosseri also addressed changes to how Instagram will be recommending content. The app recently began early-stage testing of “suggested” posts as an update to the Instagram feed’s algorithm. 

Sarah Frier, a Bloomberg journalist, said in a tweet that the latest update was part of the “Facebookification of Instagram.”

Mosseri, however, seemed to disagree. 

“That seems a bit forced, no?” he responded in a tweet last week. Recommendations are part of a broader social media trend, he continued.

“My honest take is neither Facebook nor Instagram is yet good at helping you discover new things,” Mosseri wrote on Twitter. “TikTok and Spotify are best in my opinion; we need to catch up,” he added.

This isn’t the first time that Mosseri has said competitors like TikTok were ahead of Instagram. 

At the beginning of 2021, Mosseri told The Verge he was “not yet happy with” Reels and that TikTok was “ahead.” And early in 2020 — before Instagram had even released Reels — Mosseri had told NBC that Instagram could learn from TikTok in terms of helping new stars break out.

As new platforms like TikTok put pressure on Facebook-owned Instagram, the app has had to fight even harder to win over users and content creators. On top of releasing a direct competitor to TikTok, Instagram has pushed forward several monetization efforts to woo creators with money and features users have been clamoring for.

Mosseri has been the face of Instagram’s latest changes, talking big updates with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg on a recent livestream and co-hosting Instagram’s first-ever “Creator Week” earlier this month.

Here’s a quick rundown of Mosseri’s recent takes on Instagram:

  • TikTok, YouTube, and Spotify are all ahead of Instagram when it comes to recommending posts and content. Recommendations are “driving a lot of the growth for YouTube, TikTok, and Spotify to name a few. Honestly Instagram and Facebook are both a bit behind here,” Mosseri said.
  • He’s not “a believer” in links or “feed-to-feed” sharing on the app. Instagram users can include links in Stories (if they have over 10,000 followers) or in their bio — but not on posts, as of now.
  • Separate feeds for subscriptions or accounts followed (like YouTube and TikTok) aren’t off the table. “That may make sense for Instagram too over time,” Mosseri wrote.
  • Instagram needs to change with the times. “If we never embraced change Instagram would still just be a feed, and most of our growth has been driven by Stories and DMs over the last few years,” Mosseri said.

And when New York Times journalist Taylor Lorenz pointed out that there is an entire genre of TikToks dubbing Instagram irrelevant, Mosseri echoed his other statements that Instagram needs to catch up.

“Well a whole genre doesn’t sound irrelevant to me,” Mosseri wrote. “But I agree we need to change things up or risk that being the real story.”



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