Instagram said Thursday it was rolling back several recent updates to its photo-sharing app after Kylie Jenner and other celebrities joined a user backlash against the changes and criticized the platform for trying to look too much like TikTok.
Instagram said it would pause testing of full-screen photo and video posts, which the app had introduced to replace the typical look of posts that only occupy part of the screen. The app, which is owned by Meta, also said it would temporarily reduce the number of posts in user feeds recommended by the algorithm, a new feature it had been trying out.
TikTok, the highly popular Chinese-owned video app, shows full-screen videos, most of which are recommended by the algorithm.
“We recognize that changes to the app can be an adjustment, and while we believe Instagram needs to evolve as the world changes, we want to take the time to make sure we’re doing this right,” Meta said in a statement.
The technology newsletter Platformer previously reported on Instagram’s decision to roll back the changes.
Some of Instagram’s most followed users criticized the updates. On Monday, Ms. Jenner and Kim Kardashian, her half-sister, both shared an image to Instagram that read: “Make Instagram Instagram again. (Stop trying to be tiktok, I just want to see cute pictures of my friends.) Best regards, everyone.”
In response to the criticism, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, posted a video on Tuesday explaining the updates and defending the app’s move to video. He also acknowledged that some of the changes were still in progress, calling them “not good yet.”
Meta has attempted to transform some of its marquee products into products that more closely mimic competitors. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, has spoken publicly about how TikTok has become a formidable challenger to people’s attention, saying his company had to act quickly to keep up with those rivals’ viral trends and new features.
Speaking to investors on Wednesday after Meta reported its first quarterly revenue decline as a publicly traded company, Mr. Zuckerberg said Instagram’s Reels, a video product, is driving user growth and engagement. He said the company expected the product category to double over time.
Zuckerberg also cited the shift toward “algorithmic discovery” of new and suggested content, a trend that has brought TikTok huge success by putting popular videos in users’ feeds, even if they’re not from friends or groups they follow.
Last week, Instagram introduced features to encourage collaboration between users on photo and video posts and announced that all videos would be shared as Reels, which launched as short video montages similar to those on TikTok. Zuckerberg also unveiled a feature for the main Facebook app last week that will insert more videos and suggested content into users’ feeds, much like TikTok does.