When you open Instagram you must think it’s TikTok

AFP

NOS Newstoday, 13:58

  • Nando Kasteleijn

    editor Tech

  • Nando Kasteleijn

    editor Tech

Tonight the new quarterly figures of Instagram’s parent company Meta will be released. The company faces major challenges. The company is affected by a privacy measure from Apple, which makes personalized advertisements less effective. That costs billions of dollars, although the company expects to be able to handle it. The biggest challenge for Meta is competition.

Big change

The call on Instagram and Mosseri’s response are exemplary of a major change that is being worked on within Meta. Simply put, TikTok is a huge threat to Instagram and Facebook. The Chinese video app is already very big, the number three worldwide of social media, and fears are growing that TikTok will overshadow the platforms.

The growth of TikTok in the Netherlands, compared to Facebook and Instagram:

NOS

The growth of TikTok in the Netherlands

The solution? Run TikTok through the copier at Meta’s headquarters.

It is not the first time that the ship has been adjusted. In 2016, it was Snapchat that was seen as the biggest threat. In particular, the disappearing messages, which we now all know as Stories, were seen as revolutionary. The model was successfully adopted in the form of Instagram Stories and then also introduced on Facebook; it mainly ensured that users did not feel the need to switch.

Bet: Reels

So at the time, the company responded on time. Now Meta wants to achieve the same with Reels. This is the name of the short videos that are already very important on both Instagram and Facebook and are becoming even more important. The Instagram app is already full of them and there is now a test which makes the app take on the look of TikTok even more.

You will notice this immediately: you can now scroll through messages quite quickly on Instagram. TikTok puts you ‘quiet’ every time. Instagram is now testing that too. All ways to emulate the success of the Chinese video app.

TikTok is now more important than Instagram for influencer Sakuraflor:

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Cosplayer Sakuraflor is much bigger on Tiktok than on Instagram

It marks a major change for an app that started a decade ago as a photo-sharing platform with fun filters. Now Instagram boss Adam Mosseri says that while photos will not disappear, video is becoming increasingly important. That will appeal to certain makers, but certainly not everyone.

The author of the post calling for Instagram not to turn into TikTok is a photographer by profession. This professional group uses the platform as a portfolio for their work, but is increasingly forced to do something with video. The reason is simple: the algorithm ‘finds’ that more interesting.

The big change on Facebook has already started. Last week, the company announced that users who open the app will end up on a page focused on ‘discovery’, with a leading role for video. Messages from friends and family have been moved one tab. It’s a big change for the platform, which has revolved around the people around you from the start. They are not gone, but they are clearly less important in the strategy.

A survival mode

Meta’s entire strategy bears the hallmarks of a survival mode. And that’s how CEO Mark Zuckerberg behaves now: the goals must be more aggressive. “Realistically there is a group of people [bij het bedrijf, red.] who doesn’t belong here,” he said according to tech site The Verge the end of June. In other words: if you don’t perform enough, you have to leave.

At the stock market, Meta is going through difficult times:

NOS

The stock price of Meta since July last year

That message, combined with the falling share price (employees are partly paid in shares) are causing unrest within the company. The Verge reports that research by Meta itself shows that a majority of the employees surveyed are now pessimistic about the future.

That is not a good development for a company that desperately needs those employees to turn the tide.

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