Instagram turns 12 in the midst of an identity crisis: it wants to look like TikTok

Instagram , the quintessential social network for photos, now wants to promote video and its decisions have caused a crisis among its largest users.


On October 6, 2010, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger created one of the most famous apps in the world from San Francisco: Instagram . This social network has not only promoted the passion for photography, but also to share the most personal and intimate moments of its users through images.

However, 12 years after its launch, the Meta app is now going through an identity crisis, forgetting everything that made it world famous: it wants to push short videos and all because TikTok is dominating mobile in that format.

An app that was born to make history

Going back in time, there is something very important to highlight. Systrom, one of the founders of Instagram , was a university classmate of Mark Zuckerberg, who would later buy the project from him.

Anyway, the couple began their creation based on the iPhone, precisely model 4. This tool, named Instagram as such, was launched on October 6 in the App Store.

The growth of the app was rapid, with great reception from Apple users. In just a few months, by January 2011, we were already seeing the famous hashtags that last to date to facilitate the search for topics.

Instagram , from Snapshot and telegram, is an attempt by the creators to remember their childhood with Polaroid photographs, a fact that was also reflected in their first icon. For this reason, it was also common to see square images in honor of these first cameras.

The first photo uploaded to Instagram was titled ‘Test’ and featured de Systrom’s mascot as the lead.


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A post shared by Kevin Systrom (@kevin)

The social network, in a matter of a year, became famous on the iPhone, it needed to make the leap to the other great market: Android. In April 2012, the launch was one of the maximum in that decade: in a single day, they added more than a million downloads.

Such a history was enough for Facebook, already consolidating itself in the market, to buy Instagram for a billion dollars, promising administrative independence.

This generated a more significant change in the app: while the logo was changed to a minimalist one and ads and advertisements appeared, Instagram would begin not only to generate its own functions, but also to assimilate that of other companies.

Puberty is getting to him

Instagram began to gain more public with the arrival of Stories, posts that last only 24 hours on the profile. However, this tool is not original to the app, but to Snapchat, one of the main competitors in the market.

And that would be one of the main chains that the app has followed in recent years, focusing much more on competing with apps from other aspects than creating its own features.

Its founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, no longer agreed with how Facebook was treating the app and left the company. A similar thing happened with WhatsApp.

IGTV and live broadcasts were coming to Instagram in a clear attempt by the company to compete with YouTube. The results? IGTV no longer exists and live broadcasts are far from the app’s forte.

But the most critical case has been that of Reels and the decisions made by Adam Mosseri, current CEO of Instagram .

Reels was born as a form of TikTok competition , where short videos not only attract more young people in the world, but also make them stay longer on the app. What’s more, the Chinese app has already surpassed each of the Meta apps, Facebook’s new name, in downloads in the last year.

For the same reason, the entire Mark Zuckerberg conglomerate sees TikTok as the greatest possible threat, which is why it has sent Instagram to attack it.

Mosseri had announced full screens for photos and videos , prioritizing short videos, and even blocked users who exported their tiktoks from being uploaded as Reels . This caused a unique feeling in his 12 years: anger.

Celebrities like Kylie Jenner raised their voices in protest: either you go back to how you were before, or we leave. “Stop trying to be TikTok , I just want to see photos of my friends,” said the influencer with 371 million followers.

Kim Kardashian herself would join the boycott against the app. She adds another 300 million followers.

The pressure was so strong that Instagram only had one way: pause all transformation. Mosseri acknowledged that he understands the criticism and that his team needs to rethink the features they want to add to the platform. However, this is more of a timeout than a complete cancellation.

“People are frustrated and the usage data is not good. I think there we need to take a big step back, regroup and figure out how we want to move forward,” Mosseri said.

Instagram is at a key moment. Or it can satisfy the users it maintains, and there are not a few of them, or try to hunt for novelty by betraying what made it world famous. It’s not just about photos or videos, but about a whole philosophy of leadership.