Yesterday, Instagram tested the patience of some of their users when they temporarily discontinued the scrolling feature, forcing users to tap or swipe to get to the next item in their feed. Users revolted and Instagram apologized, promising to revert to the old feed. Analysts believe that this move was meant to be the next “innovation” from the owners of Instagram and Facebook (which owns it) to increase user traffic on the app.
The “Horizontal” Swipe
Instagram made the unpopular policy change without notifying users. It appeared on updated iPhones only briefly. According to several user reports, the horizontal swipe or tap worked a lot like Instagram stories.
Instagram was only supposed to test this feature on a few users. Instead, they admit they mistakenly let the feature out to millions of users across the world. This instantly led to a massive backlash on all forms of social media. Instagram’s new chief Adam Mosseri took to Twitter to repeatedly apologize to users.
Twitter served as the main platform for lodging complaints against Instagram, which soon turned into a Tweetstorm. Users likened the experience to that of Tinder and flat out refused to adapt, starting hashtag campaigns such as #instagramupdate.
Has Instagram lost its mind? I am not tinder swiping through everyone’s posts 🤔😒 #instagramupdate
— dan hardy (@therushahead) December 27, 2018
Instagram: If It Ain't Broke, Break It
— David Mack (@davidmackau) December 27, 2018
Some users even asked for former CEO Kevin Systrom and Chief Technical Officer Mike Krieger to return to Facebook to prevent the destruction of Instagram, which Facebook acquired six years ago. Mosseri was put in charge of Instagram in October after serving as their vice president of product and the head of Facebook’s news feed feature.
Receiving unprecedented backlash over the new feature, Instagram changed it back within twenty minutes. The debacle was amusing to many Instagram users.
Only in 2018 could a company as large as Instagram release a new update and then receive such a backlash over it that they change it back 20 minutes later. Beautiful. #instagramupdate
— Michael (@michaelbrown_10) December 27, 2018
Instagram said in a statement:
“Due to a bug, some users saw a change to the way their feed appears today. We quickly fixed the issue and feed is back to normal. We apologize for any confusion.”
Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for one billion dollars. At that point, the app had around 40 million users. Over time, Facebook has made huge changes to the app, such as adding videos and the Insta Stories feature.
Facebook also introduced the idea of ad revenue collection through Instagram. In June, Instagram had made 5.5 billion dollars in ad revenue in the US in 2018 alone.
Instagram has now reached one billion users. Their user base is second only to Facebook, which has 2 billion people who log in every month. Apparently, the powers that be thought this innovation to help consolidate the user bases.
But they learned the hard way that some product ideas should remain just that – ideas.