Instagram to Roll Back Recent Changes Amid Severe Backlash, Outcry From Celebs

Instagram has temporarily halted the rollout of its revamped features following backlash from celebrities over the changes, including the Kardashians, Kylie Jenner, and Chrissy Teigen.Viewed by some critics as an attempt to emulate TikTok, the Meta-owned company planned new test features, including a full-screen feed focused on short-form videos on Reels and more recommended content from accounts that users don't follow. Instagram rolled out these features to a select group of users over the past few weeks.

The new additions have come under fire from creators like Jenner and Kim Kardashian after sharing a post from the photographer Tati Bruening (@illumitati) on Instagram stories, reading "Make Instagram Instagram Again. Stop trying to be TikTok. I just want to see cute photos of my friends. Sincerely, Everyone."

Jenner also disparaged the social networking service during a July 29 TikTok video where she gushed about the video app, saying, "I just finished my shoot. I was taking off my makeup and then I decided to film a three-minute TikTok because TikTok is my favorite place to be." 

Having said "TikTok is...", she briefly paused before finishing her sentence with "... my favorite place to be" before changing topics to the "giant fly" in her room "buzzing around."Kardashian and Jenner are two of the most prominent Instagram users in the world. In 2019, Kardashian earned up to $500K per branded post on the platform. Half-sister Jenner has 360 million followers, second only to soccer icon Cristiano Ronaldo's 470 million, and earned up to a million dollars per post in 2018.

According to CNBC, they have also consistently demonstrated their power over social media, as Snapchat's stock fell as much as 8% after Jenner abandoned the app because of a redesign. As a result, Snapchat lost more than $1 billion in revenue. 

According to a Meta spokesperson, the new features will now be paused or reduced, although there is no word on when they might be reinstated."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 Meta spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter."We recognize 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." 

The app is currently focusing on maintaining its influence among younger generations to adapt to TikTok's appeal and audience, which is fast-growing. TikTok has 656 million users, and its ad revenue passed Snapchat last year and is expected to surpass YouTube's by 2024. 

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Instagram head Adam Mosseri responded to recent pushback by sharing a video on Tuesday describing a future of Instagram focusing on videos while still "continuing to support photos." Teigen responded to the video on Twitter by saying users "don't want to make videos."

Mosseri acknowledged on July 28 that users were "frustrated" and Instagram needed to take a "big step back." He told reporter Casey Newton for his Platformer newsletter, "I'm glad we took a risk — if we're not failing every once in a while, we're not thinking big enough or bold enough,"  "But we definitely need to take a big step back and regroup. [When] we've learned a lot, then we come back with some sort of new idea or iteration. So we're going to work through that."