Instagram, the social media network, announced today that it would begin testing a new version of its full-screen feed, similar to TikTok, to improve the way photographs appear in this new format.
This experiment will also be used to test improvements to the navigation bar at the bottom of the Instagram app, which will soon include shortcuts for creating posts and accessing messages, according to the firm.
Remember that, in 2020, Instagram controversially moved its Compose button to the center of the navigation bar, giving Reels the top slot. The Compose button was then moved to the app’s top-right corner. The decision may have benefited Instagram by directing viewers to Reels — albeit inadvertently in some circumstances — but it may have dissuaded users from making a short posts. Instagram’s announcement that it will try adding the button to the navigation bar could indicate a drop in new content production as more users divert their time and attention to TikTok.
In the case of the full-screen feed, Instagram tried something similar in May, but it was met with user backlash and negative criticism. In addition to suppressing captions and comments, the new style presented all material in a 9:16 aspect ratio, including Instagram’s traditional square and horizontal images. Instagram put a hazy, gradient border around photographs that didn’t fit the feed properly, making them blend in. Needless to say, many Instagram users were not pleased with the change, and they expressed why in comments to Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri’s posts about it.
The adjustments were announced on Instagram by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who stated that “photos are still an important part of Instagram” — a remark meant to appease those who use Instagram primarily for photography and now believe that Instagram no longer values their contributions in its desperate attempt to clone TikTok and shift users to video.
In his article, Zuckerberg also mentioned that Instagram was working on methods to improve the way photographs appeared in this full-screen feed and that the test will be coming to the app shortly for select users. He didn’t detail what Instagram is doing to resolve consumers’ concerns.