A recent update to the Instagram app suggests the company is going all-in on reels, much to the horror of loyal users.
Those who have signed up for Instagram in the past few days will have noticed a small but significant change to the user interface.
In the lower navigation bar, users will now find a “Roles” button and a “Shop” tab that once housed the “Create” button and the “Activity” tab.
The Create button and Activity tab are now in the upper right corner of the screen next to the Direct Message button.
Whether by design or not, it will send a message to users that Instagram is prioritizing roles and purchases over the most important feed content. And users aren’t happy about it.
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Before we get into user reactions, let’s first take a look at what has changed and why (as announced by Instagram).
Rolling & Shopping Via Regular Posts?
The announcement from Instagram reads:
“Today we’re announcing some big changes to Instagram – a Roles tab and a Shop tab.
The Roles tab makes it easier to discover short, fun videos from developers around the world and from people like you.
The Store tab is a better place to connect with brands, developers, and discover products you love. “
Instagram claims that the way young people and creators use the platform is changing.
According to the company, there has been an “explosion” of short video content on Instagram, as well as a significant shift towards online shopping since the pandemic began.
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Instagram describes adding a Reels button as “a kind of stage, a place where people share their creativity with the world and have the opportunity to break out and find an audience”.
In reality, Reels is a direct competitor to TikTok, which pushes Instagram in the same way as the Stories feature borrowed from Snapchat.
Reels don’t resonate with users, so Instagram goes one step further by literally putting the feature at the center.
Replacing the Create button with a Roles button is a risk. Although Instagram believes there is an even greater risk to the future of the app Not make these kinds of changes.
“We’re not taking these changes lightly – we haven’t updated the Instagram home screen extensively in a while. But how people create and enjoy culture has changed, and the biggest risk to Instagram is not that we change too quickly, but that we don’t change and become irrelevant. “
Instagram says it is excited about this change – a feeling not shared by its user base.
User reactions to Instagram app update
If the reaction to Instagram’s update can be described in one word, I would have no hesitation in using the word “angry”.
So angry in fact that I can’t share most people’s comments due to the mundane language.
Here are some of the cleaner tweets I found:
In the truest sense of the word, nobody asked about the new #instagramupdate. We don’t need a section for your ‘roles’ which are really just tiktoks. Just bring back the old exploration page
– Amina @ (@aminamiahx) November 13, 2020
Instagram update is terrible. You absolutely destroyed impressions and all the algorithms. I don’t care about roles. I have TikTok for this reason. I don’t want to shop on Instagram either. I have Safari for that.
– patrice eleana (@patriceellieee) November 14, 2020
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can instagram chill w these new updates. I don’t want to see roles, I don’t want to shop, I don’t want to see suggested posts. I want the bare minimums 🤩
– Olivia (@oliviastamper_) November 14, 2020
Why did my Instagram turn into Tiktok with all these roles? You’re really doing yourself a disservice with these horrific updates
– ks🌹 (@kxxrlysxlkeldx) November 14, 2020
Even influencer James Charles, with an audience of tens of millions, went (securely) over the Instagram update for a long time.
James Charles talks about the new IG update pic.twitter.com/I8CViuItJa
– Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) November 13, 2020
The criticism is consistent throughout. Instagram doesn’t fix things that people find broken, but rather adds new things that nobody asked for.
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What Instagram users want most is very simple. They want an app that is easier to navigate and an algorithm that allows them to see the content that matters to them.
People don’t open the Instagram app to watch reels and go shopping. However, time will tell whether Instagram can change user behavior.
I imagine we will learn a lot about the impact this change will have on users when Instagram releases its next quarterly report.