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The Morning After: Instagram backpedals on its full-screen feed

The app will also reduce the level of recommended content, for now.

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Mat Smith
July 29, 2022 7:15 AM
In this article: themorningafter, gear, newsletter
This illustration picture shows Instagram's new video feature "Reels" on a smartphone in front of a screen showing an Instagram logo, on August 6, 2020 in Los Angeles. - Instagram on August 5 added a new short-form video feature to the image-focused platform in a direct challenge to TikTok. "Reels" lets users record videos of up to 15 seconds and provides tools for editing, audio and effects, according to the Facebook-owned company. (Photo by Chris DELMAS / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images)
CHRIS DELMAS via Getty Images

Last month, Instagram started testing a full-screen display for photos and videos. And we didn’t like it. Now, Instagram boss Adam Mosseri says the test will be wound down over the next couple of weeks. “For the new feed designs, people are frustrated, and the usage data isn’t great,” Mosseri said to Platformer.

He added: “When you discover something in your field that you didn't follow before, there should be a high bar — it should just be great,” he said. “You should be delighted to see it. And I don't think that’s happening enough right now."

Instagram brought in the full-screen feed and larger number of recommended posts to compete with TikTok and to contend with the pivot from photos to videos. The time spent by people watching Reels grew by 30 percent last quarter, and Mosseri said users' gradual embrace of video was happening, regardless of Instagram’s own movements.

In an earnings call on Wednesday, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said around 15 percent of the posts people see on Facebook (and even more on Instagram) are recommended by algorithms. Zuckerberg expects the volume of recommended posts to double over the next year or so.

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