On Wednesday 30 June, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, posted a video on both his Instagram and Twitter accounts, where he announced that the company is looking to lean into entertainment and video after seeing the success of competitors like TikTok and YouTube. “We’re no longer just a square photo sharing app,” reads his post’s caption.
Mosseri further described some upcoming changes and experiments that Instagram will be doing, including showing users recommendations for topics they’re not following and making videos more immersive by offering a full-screen experience. If you didn’t think Instagram was going after TikTok before, it’s now just been fully confirmed. Mosseri just phrased it differently by saying that the company wants to “embrace video more broadly.”
When it comes to presenting users with content they’re not following in the first place, Instagram had previously indicated that it might be going down this road. However, it wasn’t revealed until recently that users would also be the ones to select specific topics they wish to be served.
It’s become clear that Instagram is aiming to become a general entertainment app driven by algorithms and videos, just like TikTok. “At the moment, though, it’s vague as to how Instagram plans on doing that—and whether it’ll be improving and innovating on features popularized by apps like TikTok or just making something with a few Facebook-y tweaks,” The Verge added.
Meanwhile, video-sharing app TikTok continues to evolve following its users’ demands in order to stay ahead of its competitors. This weekend, its product manager Drew Kirchhoff said in a post that users will now be able to post videos up to three minutes in length, “With longer videos, creators will have the canvas to create new or expanded types of content on Tiktok, with the flexibility of a bit more space.”
According to Kirchhoff, the option to post videos longer than the previous time limit of one minute will roll out to all TikTok users in the coming weeks. “Some of you might have come across a longer video on TikTok already—we’ve been letting creators around the world experiment with the expanded format,” he added.
In March 2019, The New York Times ‘predicted’ that TikTok would impact the way all social media works. “It’s been a while since a new social app got big enough, quickly enough, to make nonusers feel they’re missing out from an experience. If we exclude Fortnite, which is very social but also very much a game, the last time an app inspired such interest from people who weren’t on it was … maybe Snapchat?” wrote the publication.
The time has come, and things seem to be unfolding quicker than most of us expected. TikTok’s real influence lies in the fact that it decided that our friends were simply holding us back. Who even needs friends when you can spend hours watching videos posted by strangers? Other social media giants like Instagram are finally catching up to that revelation.