Two of Instagram’s most-followed celebs — Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner — want the Meta-owned social service to stop trying to mimic surging rival TikTok.
The sisters both posted the same message on Instagram Stories that says, “Make Instagram Instagram Again.” It continues, “(stop trying to be tiktok i just want to see cute photos of my friends). Sincerely, Everyone.”
Instagram has increasingly promoted Reels, its short-form video feature copying the format popularized by TikTok.
Who cares what a pair of famous-for-being-famous influencers think? Well, millions of people. Kylie Jenner has more than 360 million followers on Instagram — she’s the No. 2 most-followed account, after football star Cristiano Ronaldo — and Kim Kardashian has over 326 million.
The Change.org petition that the sisters’ referenced in their Instagram Stories, which launched July 22, had fewer than 100,000 signatures before the Kardashians threw their support behind it. As of Tuesday morning, it has more than 140,000 signees.
“We have TikTok for a reason, and let’s face it, the only [Instagram] reels uploaded are recycled TikToks and content that the world has already seen,” the petition, launched four days ago by photographer Tati Bruening (@Illumitati), reads. “What’s innovative and unique about old stale content? Nothing!”
In a video post Tuesday, perhaps in response to the Kardashians weighing in on the topic, Instagram head Adam Mosseri reiterated that the service will continue prioritizing video.
“I’m hearing a lot of concerns about right now about photos and how we’re shifting to video,” he said. “Now, I want to be clear, we’re gonna continue to support photos. It’s part of our heritage.” Mosseri continued, “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.”
Mosseri also addressed concerns over Instagram’s test of a full-screen version of users’ feed. He said the test is available only to a “few percentage” of Instagram users and that it still needs work: “It’s not yet good,” he said.
Meta, having seen intensified competition from TikTok for share of time, has scurried to pump more video features into Instagram. Instagram Reels represents more than 20% of time spent on the app, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told analysts in April. But it’s still early days in terms of generating revenue from that short-form video consumption, according to Meta.
Meanwhile, last year Meta enlisted a political lobbying firm to secretly plant negative opinion pieces about TikTok in U.S. news outlets. Meta defended the campaign, with a rep saying: “We believe all platforms, including TikTok, should face a level of scrutiny consistent with their growing success.”