Ever since it was founded over a decade ago, Instagram has undergone plenty of changes. Most of us don’t like the direction the app is taking, and as it turns out: neither does its co-founder.
In a recent interview, Kevin Systrom opened up about his thoughts on Instagram as we have it today. He claims that it has lost its soul and turned way too much into a commercial app than one for connecting, which only confirms what most of us thinks of the former photo sharing app.
[Related reading: Mosseri admits Instagram went too far showing videos over photos]
Instagram started as Burbn, a mobile check-in app co-founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in 2010. They quickly realized it was too similar to Foursquare, so they switched focus to photo sharing and renamed the app Instagram. It didn’t take long for it to explode in popularity, and it took Facebook only two years to buy it out. On April 9, 2012, Facebook (now Meta) bought Instagram for $1 billion in cash and stock.
In 2018, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger resigned from Instagram and Adam Mosseri became the new CEO. They moved on with their career since, but Systrom spoke openly about Instagram in a recent podcast with Kara Swisher. He said that the app has “lost the soul of what made Instagram Instagram.” He added that he regretted how commercial it got, reflecting on #AD under more and more posts from people he’d followed for years. “That, to me, is not the Instagram we started,” Systrom said in the podcast, lamenting about how the app has become completely the opposite of what it was supposed to be.
We can’t deny that Instagram is no longer a photo sharing app. Lately, it seems that it’s everything but that. I mean, even its own CEO admits it. It’s all about making money and ads are everywhere. Not to mention that most of the “new” features have been “borrowed” from other apps like TikTok, Twitter, Telegram, even the “anti-Instagram” app BeReal.
I can’t say I disagree with Systrom, Instagram truly has lost its soul in the process of making it a cash cow for Meta. But then again, he’s had nothing to do with it for the last five years, so it hasn’t been his call whether or not to turn it into an endless sea of ads. Also, it’s not that you can expect a big corporation like Meta not to try and make money out of an app that’s so successful and popular.
All in all, we can still take from Instagram what we need. I still find it useful for promoting my work and following fun, educational, and creative content. But if it’s more of a nuisance than a useful tool – I guess we should find other ways to promote our business and work, or to kill some free time.