Not that long ago, I opened the Instagram meta-app and was amazed that I hardly ever saw pictures of the people I follow in my stream, but rather reels and sponsored content from random people , which I don’t know at all and which in most cases don’t interest me. To do this, the usual scrolling from top to bottom was replaced by a swipe up, and the posts in my stream “stuck” in the field of view with every movement, as if they were hanging on a rubber band.
I closed Instagram. Opened it up again, explicitly clicking the pink-orange camera button, and felt like I was in a fake movie. Namely in a TikTok film. Metas Instagram now behaves like the popular app of the video portal of the Chinese company ByteDance. An app that I intentionally deleted from my phone again because it is the absolute time killer. It is not without reason that TikTok is called a time machine. And now Instagram is a time machine too. And Facebook will too. If you haven’t previously viewed Facebook as such.
TikTok’s recipe for success
The success of TikTok cannot be denied. The short video platform has mostly taken users between the ages of 15 and 30 by storm, and it does so with a (reasonably) clever algorithm and simplicity of use. As in the dating app Tinder, a swipe is enough to decide whether you like something or not. This swipe in TikTok, from top to bottom, is presumably based on the movement you would make if you pulled the lever of a slot machine.
Except that you don’t put money into the video slot machine, but your valuable time. Quality is replaced by quantity consumption, because sooner or later the user will only be served what he likes, which in turn encourages him to stay on the ball even longer. It doesn’t matter whether the next video is “awesome” or just “well” or “total groats”. All it takes is one more swipe and the next clip might just get better.
Meta’s capitulation to its own claim
And Meta has now copied that with Instagram – because there’s no other way I can explain why posts from my friends are drowning in a flood of cat, dog and shopping clips. Especially on Facebook, this change will upset many people. Why should we use Facebook or Instagram if it behaves like TikTok anyway – then I can use TikTok right away?
With the original approach, Facebook in particular is actually intended in such a way that users see the posts of people with whom they are friends. On Gutjahr’s website you can read an interesting post about this: Just five years ago, Facebook wanted to encourage meaningful conversations with friends and people we care about. Any Korean influencer with cute cat movies probably means no more to me than a cat photo my sister posted.
The pull of irrelevance
Why Meta is adapting Instagram and Facebook to TikTok rules is obvious: Facebook in particular has been losing relevance for years. For better or for worse, those responsible want to regain this relevance by adapting to the consumption habits of younger generations and trying to copy the success of TikTok and ByteDance. But as already mentioned: Why should younger internet users in particular use Facebook or Instagram if they already have TikTok? according to the Authors of the Handelsblatt 43 percent of users between the ages of 18 and 24 are already attached to TikTok. So why, in the worst case, copy the TikTok system badly and thus scare away the visit from the people who are still loyal to meta apps?
Help out of the mess?
The solution to this forced hipness is simple: delete everything, uninstall everything, put the phone aside. You know it. Because not only are we flooded with content from social networks, we are also being studied and spied on at the same time. With every action we train the algorithm that is supposed to satisfy our needs and we become transparent users who are always shown the appropriate advertising.
Or you try to move something by complaining. The power of the most successful influencers is also interesting at this point. As CNN’s Entertainment Business reporter Frank Pallotta notes, the latest protest from one of the biggest influencer personas of the moment, Kylie Jenner, has already hurt Snapchat’s value. Jenner, in turn, is demanding that Instagram stop copying TikTok. It will be exciting to see if that will do anything or if Meta’s people in charge don’t care about such a protest either.
Oh, Instagram is taking a step back again – sort of…
The protest against Instagram’s TikTok-ification seems to have borne fruit. From the report of the authors of the website Platformer, which is about Instagram boss Adam Mosserie write and talked to him, it turns out that some of the changes to Instagram will be reversed for the time being. Accordingly, the number of suggested posts in the app will be reduced while the technicians work on refining the suggestion algorithm. “I’m glad we took a risk – if we don’t fail every now and then, we’re not thinking big enough or we’re not brave enough,” Mosserie said. However, that doesn’t mean that everything goes back to the old way and stays that way. “We definitely need to take a big step back and regroup. When we’ve learned a lot, we’ll come back with a new idea or approach, so we’ll work through that,” it says. So we’re excited…