Instagram understands the power of the Kardashians.
After Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian made pleas for Instagram to stop promoting short-form videos (known as Reels), the social media platform has officially announced plans to phase out some of the app’s recent changes. According to Instagram head Adam Mosseri, the app will eliminate full-screen photos and videos and reduce the number of recommended posts in users’ feeds.
“I’m glad we took a risk — if we’re not failing every once in a while, we’re not thinking big enough or bold enough,” Mosseri said in an interview. “But we definitely need to take a big step back and regroup. [When] we’ve learned a lot, then we come back with some sort of new idea or iteration. So we’re going to work through that.”
The move comes just days after Kardashian and Jenner joined a chorus of social media users who began launching complaints over the social media app’s apparent favor of Reels. Jenner, one of the app’s most-followed women, posted an Instagram Story boosting a popular post urging the platform to “Make Instagram Instagram Again” by focusing on photo-sharing, rather than Reels. Her sister, Kim Kardashian, also joined the chorus of voices backing the post’s “(stop trying to be tiktok i just want to see cute photos of my friends). Sincerely, Everyone” statement by sharing it to her own page.
The Change.org petition featured in the original post shared to both Jenner and Kardashian’s stories — the former to an audience of 353 million followers and the latter to 326 million followers — has received a boost of over 50,000 signatures, with more rolling in by the second. The description of the petition argues for the return of chronological timelines, an algorithm that prioritizes photos over video, and more consideration for the platform’s creators.
Initially, Instagram heard the cries and is responded with a firm “No.”
“I’m hearing a lot of concerns about right now about photos and how we’re shifting to video,” Mosseri said in a statement. “Now, I want to be clear, we’re gonna continue to support photos. It’s part of our heritage.”
He added: “That said, I need to be honest: I do believe that more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time. We see this even if we do nothing… So we’re gonna have to lean into that shift.”
But while Mosseri may be doubling down in their favor toward video, Instagram certainly doesn’t want to lose Jenner. The platform previously hit the social media jackpot back in 2018 when the reality star unintentionally encouraged users to ditch Snapchat and move over to Instagram Stories by speaking out against Snapchat’s then-new formatting.
Though Instagram Stories first launched in 2016, it took users a while to transition from Snapchat, which was the pioneer in sharing photos and videos with a 24-hours shelf life.
But where Jenner goes, the followers, well, follow. So when she tweeted, “Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad,” in 2018, the app felt an immediate impact. In fact, Snapchat’s stock, which, to be fair, was already on a downward trend, suffered a loss estimated to have been between $1.3 billion and $1.6 billion, according to Vox.
But from Instagram’s perspective, they’ve overtaken an once-über popular app in the past, so why wouldn’t Reels, their version of TikTok, be able to topple the world’s most-downloaded app, too? In short, it’s because their most influential influencers don’t want it to.
This story was updated on 7/28 at 2:50 pm ET to reflect Instagram’s latest announcement walking back app changes.