×
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

  • Lauren Dolgen Exits as BuzzFeed Studios

    Lauren Dolgen Exits as BuzzFeed Studios Boss After a Year

    Veteran TV producer Lauren Dolgen has departed as head of BuzzFeed Studios after one year in the job. BuzzFeed had hired Dolgen, a longtime MTV producer who worked on shows including “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant,” as head of BuzzFeed Studios to oversee the company’s slate of original content. Based in L.A., she had [...]

  • Snap-Derek-Andersen-Lara-Sweet

    Snap Fills Out Senior Ranks With CFO, HR Chief Appointments

    Snap CEO and co-founder Evan Spiegel has turned in house to fill the company’s CFO and head of human resources positions, completing an overhaul of the Snapchat parent’s executive ranks after a series of high-level departures. The company announced the appointment of Derek Andersen, currently Snap’s VP of finance, as chief financial officer. Andersen will [...]

  • Oculus Quest Gets Netflix App, But

    Oculus Quest Will Have Netflix, but Not Plex or HBO

    Facebook’s new Oculus Quest headset is launching with a number of high-profile gaming titles this Tuesday. Media apps on the other hand will take a bit of backseat, with some key players sitting this latest headset out for the time being. First, the good news for anyone who has pre-ordered the headset: One of the [...]

  • Lester Holt

    Chris Berend Tapped to Oversee NBC News' Digital Efforts

    Chris Berend, an executive who has been overseeing digital video for CNN and helped launch Great Big Story, a streaming-video site aimed at younger audiences, will jump to NBC News to lead its digital efforts. Berend will replace Nick Ascheim, who will move into a new role that is described as “improving digital and product [...]

  • Vogue, Conde Nast Entertainment Make Robert

    Robert Semmer Joins Condé Nast Entertainment & Vogue as Vice President of Video

    Condé Nast Entertainment and Vogue have named former Vice and Fader video executive Robert Semmer as their new vice president of video. Semmer will be based in New York and report to Croi McNamara, senior vice president of programming for Condé Nast Entertainment. “Anna and I are thrilled to welcome Robert to our award-winning video [...]

  • CEO of T-Mobile John Legere (L)

    FCC Chairman Backs T-Mobile, Sprint Merger With New Conditions

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai gave a thumbs-up to T-Mobile and Sprint’s proposed $26 billion merger, after the companies committed to enhanced 5G buildout commitments and agreed to spin off Sprint’s Boost Mobile. T-Mobile and Sprint first announced their plans to merge in April 2018, looking to combine forces to take on industry leaders AT&T and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content