×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Instagram Apologizes for Horizontal-Scrolling Test Glitch, Rolls It Back After Quick and Furious Backlash

Instagram on Thursday rolled out what it thought was a small-scale test of a new tap-to-advance feature that lets users scroll through posts horizontally.

But the new feature went to more users than it expected — touching off an instant freak-out among Instagram users and leading the social network to swiftly pull the plug on the test.

Adam Mosseri, whom Facebook recently installed as head of Instagram with the departure of the photo-and-video-sharing app’s founders, responded Thursday morning to users on Twitter, explaining that the horizontal-scrolling feature was “supposed to be a very small test that went broad by accident. Should be fixed now. If you’re still seeing it simply restart the app. Happy holidays! 😬.”

The test “went to a few orders of magnitude more people than intended… sorry about that,” Mosseri posted on Twitter. He also tweeted, “Sorry for the confusion! Always trying new ideas, usually with a much smaller number of people…”

An Instagram rep blamed a “bug” for the unwelcome appearance of the feature. “Due to a bug, some users saw a change to the way their feed appears today. We quickly fixed the issue and feed is back to normal,” the rep said.

Many users who received the Instagram app with the new scrolling feature immediately decried it as a step backward compared with the vertical-feed orientation — making it harder to see updates and slowing down the ability to navigate through posts.

Reactions to the test on social media were overwhelmingly negative:

Instagram — like other popular apps — has faced a backlash in making design changes. In 2016, Instagram switched users’ feeds from chronological to algorithmically sorted presentation; that led to a Change.org petition to keep Instagram chronological signed by 343,000 people (but Instagram did not revert to the previous design). Also that year, Instagram changed its logo and the New York Times dubbed the ensuing uproar “The Great Instagram Logo Freakout of 2016.”

Mosseri is a 10-year Facebook veteran who most recently was head of Facebook’s News Feed. He took over the reins at Instagram this fall following the surprise announcement that co-founders CEO Kevin Systrom and CTO Mike Krieger were departing.

Instagram, which Facebook acquired for $1 billion, is a key asset for its parent company. Instagram would be worth more than $100 billion if it were a standalone company, according to an estimate by Bloomberg Intelligence. This summer, Instagram topped 1 billion monthly active users and says it has 25 million businesses that maintain accounts on the service.

More Digital

  • T-mobile - Netflix - John Legere

    T-Mobile Passes Netflix Price Hike Through to Subscribers

    T-Mobile is getting ready to raise prices for subscribers who have taken advantage of its “Netflix On Us” promotion: The mobile carrier will begin charging existing customers who have participated in the promotion an additional $2 per month to account for Netflix’s recent price increase. Consumers will see their bill go up starting on 6/2. [...]

  • Oona King

    Snap Hires Google Exec Oona King as First VP of Diversity and Inclusion

    Snap continues to fill out the ranks of its revamped leadership team: The Snapchat parent tapped Oona King, most recently Google’s director of diversity strategy and a former member of British Parliament with the Labour Party, as its first VP of diversity and inclusion. King, who starts at Snap on June 11, is also the [...]

  • Chrissy Teigen

    Chrissy Teigen to Rule Over Small-Claims 'Chrissy's Court' in Show for Jeffrey Katzenberg's Quibi

    Chrissy Teigen is going full-on “Judge Judy” in a reality show ordered by Quibi, the mobile-video subscription start-up venture founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg. In each episode of “Chrissy’s Court,” the model-influencer will reign as the “judge” over one small-claims case. Like the reality TV shows it’s patterned after, the plaintiffs, defendants, and disputes are real [...]

  • IGTV-Landscape

    Instagram's IGTV Adds Support for Horizontal Videos ‚ÄĒ but Still No Monetization

    Instagram is still searching to find the right recipe for IGTV, the long-form video service it debuted nearly a year ago. In the hopes of encouraging usage of IGTV, Instagram is breaking the original design that allowed only vertical video– to now support horizontally oriented videos as well. It’s a change that bows to the [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Took Down 2.2 Billion Fake Accounts in Q1

    Facebook saw a huge jump of bots trying to create fake accounts during the first quarter, with the company revealing Thursday that it took down 2.19 billion such accounts over the first three months of this year. “We’ve seen a steep increase in the creation of abusive, fake accounts on Facebook in the last six [...]

  • Netflix Unveils Lonely Island Musical Tribute

    Netflix Unveils Lonely Island Musical Tribute to Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire

    The Lonely Island comedy troupe has dropped a half-hour Netflix special featuring a musical tribute to baseball greats Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. “The Lonely Island Presents: The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience” features Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer as the former Oakland Athletics teammates who became known as “the Bash Brothers” for their prowess at [...]

  • Rotten Tomatoes

    Rotten Tomatoes Revamps Movie Audience Scores to Focus on Verified Ticket Buyers

    Rotten Tomatoes is dramatically changing its Audience Score methodology for movies: The site’s standard user rating will now reflect only moviegoers who can prove they’ve bought a ticket to see it in a theater. It’s another troll-fighting move by Rotten Tomatoes, designed to curb coordinated “review bombs” aimed at pushing down the Audience Score for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content