Photographers have taken to social media to complain about Instagram’s recent video-centric changes to compete with TikTok – saying the app ‘hates’ them.
Instagram has made no secret of its shift to video and has embraced more TikTok-like features in 2022. Over the past few weeks, the app has doubled down on that move – testing a change that turns all video posts into its reels of TikTok clone and the addition of a new “Live Producer” tool that will allow creators to broadcast live videos from their desktop.
Complaints were made against the app on social media last week after a tweet from a commercial and editorial photographer Inari Briana gone viral. In the tweet, Briana says “Instagram hates photographers I’m sure.”
Instagram hates photographers I’m sure
— Inari NOT Briana. (@inaribriana) July 12, 2022
Briana’s tweet quickly garnered thousands of likes and encouraged comments from other photographers on Twitter who have shared their frustration with the app in recent months.
Photographer Glenn Charles responds to Briana’s tweet, “Instagram wants to be TikTok and now it sucks,” to which another user subscribes, “I haven’t seen a post from someone I actually follow in months. Just random rolls.
I haven’t seen a message from someone I’m actually following in months. Just random rolls
—Richard Splooge | 8–D💦.eth (@HDergler) July 12, 2022
Several users were upset with the way Instagram was abandoning photographers after helping the app become the tech giant it is today. “Never maximized the platform for photographers. But that’s who brought them their first loyal base. And they’ve only been chasing photographers since they were bought by Facebook,” says the photographer and writer, Charles Bay.
Never maxed out the platform for photographers. But that’s what brought them their first loyal base. And they have been chasing photographers since they were purchased by fb.
— charles bay (@CharlestonBay) July 12, 2022
Photographer Ashley Nicole, among others, has complained that Instagram no longer pushes her photographs through the algorithm, favoring Reels instead. “I’ve gone from a few thousand likes on each photo to now maybe a hundred. The other day I only had thirty-six likes. I have almost twenty-five thousand subscribers. I don’t understand not what’s going on,” says Nicole.
I’ve gone from a few thousand likes on each photo to MAYBE 100 now.
The other day I only got 36 likes lol
I have nearly 25,000 subscribers. I do not understand what is happening
— ash (dropping Billie Eilish) (@ashhpotato) July 12, 2022
Several photographers on the viral Twitter feed say they are now planning to diversify and move their content to several different photo-sharing apps, like Petapixel suggested in a post in December.
Photographer and filmmaker Valerie Robinson writes, “As a photographer, Instagram is my least favorite platform. I started to focus more on housing things on my site and blog instead. While camera collector and photographer Aaron Ramirez similarly says, “That’s why I’m working on uploading more content to my website. The IG algorithm is no longer geared towards still photography.
That’s why I’m working on uploading more content to my website.
The IG algorithm is no longer geared towards still photography.
—Aaron (@pjlove10) July 12, 2022
Others touted Twitter as the major new photo-sharing app with Atlanta-based photographer Til Edwards noting that “the reality is you have to post Reels to grow” on Instagram now and Twitter “has been a better place. where to be”.
Following the uproar from photographers on Twitter earlier this month, Instagram boss Adam Mosseri attempted to backtrack on his video announcement from last year that the app was “no longer a photo-sharing app. “.Axios editor Alex Fitzpatrick mourned Instagram’s alienation of photographers with their recent changes, leading Mosseri to tweet, “To be clear I meant ‘we’re not *just* a photo sharing app. I might have to do more than one take next time.
To be clear, I meant “we’re not *just* a photo sharing app”. I might have to do more than one take next time…
— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) June 30, 2021
In an interview with USA today over the weekend, social media strategist Christina Olivarez explained why Instagram’s focus on video has been unwelcome by users who don’t want another TikTok clone.
One of the frustrations users have with the app is that its algorithm “doesn’t prioritize people we already follow,” says Olivarez, like with Instagram pushing random reels on photos posted by the people users follow on feeds.
“It’s trying to get into the same realm as TikTok,” says Olivarez. “And so I feel like there are things that they should kind of prioritize a bit more rather than just trying to compete with TikTok too much.”
Picture credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.