Earlier this week, Instagram users who have become increasingly frustrated over the app’s not-so-subtle attempts to mimic TikTok found a powerful ally in Kylie Jenner. The beauty influencer reshared a rallying cry to “Make Instagram Instagram Again,” an image that had been circulating on the platform along with a Change.org petition that has been signed by almost 200,000 people as of Wednesday.
“Stop trying to be TikTok,” the image continues. “I just want to see cute photos of my friends.”
The chief complaint among many of these unhappy users underscores a growing friction within old-school social media sites about what their core purpose actually is. Are they intimate places to connect with friends and family or discovery engines where users can scroll through endless entertaining videos from strangers?
Meta, Instagram’s parent company—which also owns Facebook—has decided that it wants to be the latter, and in a way you can’t really blame it. As user growth has leveled off in mature markets such as the United States and Europe, the company has adopted a more aggressively TikTok-like approach, pumping social feeds with more and more content from random people that you don’t follow and probably don’t care about. On Instagram, this content takes the form of the dreaded “Suggested Post,” which slides into your feed like an uninvited party guest as you are innocently trying to see what your old college chums are up to on their vacation in Barbados.
Suggested Posts have become so ubiquitous in recent months that some users have made a habit out of documenting the mix of their Instagram feeds on Twitter—a way of demonstrating how far astray the platform has wandered from its original mission.
Instagram is getting ridiculous
— Amal~ (@hammetallica) July 26, 2022
With TikTok now the dominant platform for younger users, and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg having apparently made up his mind about which direction he wants to go, it’s likely that not even Kylie Jenner can stop Instagram’s ultimate transformation into a not-as-good version of TikTok. However, users are not completely powerless. The good news is, there are a few small things you can do right now to make Instagram feel a little bit more like the app you fell in love with.
1. Snooze Suggested Posts
If you are annoyed by the increasing presence of Suggested Posts in your feed, here is a ridiculously simple solution that you may not know existed. (I’ll admit, I didn’t know about it until recently, but it has made life on Instagram so much more pleasant.) Just click the X at the top of the post and then select “Snooze all suggested posts in feed for 30 days.” Yes, it’s just that easy! So easy, in fact, that you have to wonder if this will become one of those features that quietly disappears with no explanation. Perhaps, but for as long as it exists, enjoy it.
2. Select Favorites
Here’s another handy feature that will make Instagram feel more intimate. Earlier this year, Instagram announced a “Favorites” feature that lets you select a handful of friends who get priority in your feed. Just click the Instagram logo at the top left of the app, select Favorites, and choose your list among your Instagram friends. You can pick up to 50, and change it up whenever you want. Once you have your list, those users get top billing when you’re scrolling through Instagram. Now you can party with 50 besties like it’s 2013 again. And who among us doesn’t want that?