Instagram is chasing TikTok with a new full-screen feed, photo and navigation changes coming – TechCrunch

Instagram today announced that it will begin testing a new version of its full-screen feed, similar to TikTok’s, which aims to improve the way photos appear in this new format. The company said it will also use this experiment to try out changes to the navigation bar at the bottom of the Instagram app, where it will soon add shortcuts to create a post and access messages.

As you may recall, Instagram somewhat controversially moved its Compose button in 2020 when it gave Reels pride of place in the center of the navigation bar. The Compose button was later hidden in the top right corner of the app. The choice may have benefited Instagram by luring users to Reels — if only by accident, in some cases — but it may have deterred users from making a quick post. The fact that Instagram says it will now test the return of the button in the navigation bar could signal that it is seeing a drop in the creation of new content as more people devote their time and energy to Tik Tok.

As for the full-screen feed, Instagram had started a similar experiment in May where it was soon met with user complaints and negative feedback. In addition to to hide legends and comments, the updated format displayed all content in the 9:16 aspect ratio, including Instagram’s classic square photos and horizontal images. For photos that didn’t match the feed properly, Instagram applied a blurry gradient border to make them blend in. Needless to say many instagram users were not love of this change — and explained why in their responses to Instagram chief Adam Mosseri’s posts about the update.

Another issue with the previous test was how the feed included odd white space between posts. This made the feed appear as a cross between TikTok’s true full-screen feed and a more traditional card-like feed where posts were separated. Users also said the new format made their feeds more cluttered. Instagram has now clarified to TechCrunch that the new full-screen stream test rollout will no longer display white space at the top and bottom of posts when viewing 9:16 videos.

However, the new feed is promising for creators, as Instagram said it will start recommending their content to unfollowers – similar to how TikTok adds content it thinks you might like on its For You page. It’s also arguably useful for professional creators and advertisers when different apps standardize around one format, as it makes it easier to reuse content across platforms.

The changes were announced on Instagram by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who said “photos are still an important part of Instagram” – a comment meant to address backlash from those who use Instagram primarily for photography and who now believe Instagram no longer values ​​their contributions amid its desperation to clone TikTok and move users to video.

Zuckerberg’s post also said that Instagram was working on ways to improve the way photos displayed in this full-screen feed and that some users would soon see the test coming to the app. He did not elaborate on what specifically Instagram was doing to address user concerns.

The changes to the navigation bar weren’t mentioned in his post, nor shown in the images provided by Instagram (shown above). But a spokesperson noted them in response to an inquiry into how this test differed from the one that arrived in May.

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