Not too long ago, I opened the Instagram meta app and was surprised to find that my feed almost never featured photos of people I followed, only reels and sponsored content from random people I didn’t know at all, and which were mostly cases of no interest to me. For this, the usual scrolling from top to bottom was replaced by swiping up, and the columns in my stream “stuck” in the field of vision with each movement, as if hanging on a rubber band.
I closed Instagram. I opened it again, clearly clicking the pink-orange camera button, and it felt like I was in a fake movie. Namely in the TikTok movie. Metas Instagram now behaves like an app of the popular video portal of the Chinese company ByteDance. An app I’ve purposely deleted from my phone again because it’s an absolute time killer. It’s not for nothing that TikTok is called a time machine. And now Instagram is a time machine. And Facebook too. If you haven’t looked at Facebook as such before.
TikTok’s recipe for success
There is no denying the success of TikTok. The short video platform has mostly struck a chord with 15-30 year olds, and it’s doing so with a (reasonably) smart algorithm and ease of use. Just like on the dating app Tinder, you only need to swipe to decide whether you like someone or not. This top-down swipe on TikTok is probably based on the motion you’d make when pulling the lever on a slot machine.
Except you’re not putting money into a video slot, but your precious time. Quality is replaced by quantity consumption, because sooner or later the consumer will be served only what he likes, which in turn encourages him to stay on the ball even longer. It doesn’t matter if the next video is going to be “awesome” or just “okay” or “total crap.” Just one more swipe and the next clip could be better.
A month’s capitulation to its claim
And Meta has now copied it with Instagram – because otherwise I can’t explain why my friends’ posts are drowning in a flood of cat, dog and shopping clips. Especially on Facebook, this change will upset many. Why should we use Facebook or Instagram if they still act like TikTok – then I can use TikTok right away?
In an original approach, Facebook is actually designed to allow users to see the posts of people they are friends with. Gutjahr website you can read an interesting post about it: Just five years ago, Facebook wanted to encourage meaningful conversations with our friends and the people we care about. Any Korean influencer with cute cat videos probably means nothing more to me than my sister’s cat photo.
The attraction of irrelevance
Why Meta is bringing Instagram and Facebook to TikTok’s rules is obvious: Facebook has been losing its relevance for years. For better or worse, those in charge want to regain that relevance by adapting to the consumption habits of younger generations and trying to copy the success of TikTok and ByteDance. But as already mentioned: why should younger internet users use Facebook or Instagram if they already have TikTok? according to Handelsblatt authors 43 percent of users between the ages of 18 and 24 are already on TikTok. So why, in the worst case scenario, copy TikTok’s system badly and thus discourage the visits of people who are still loyal to the meta app?
Help out of the mess?
The solution to this compulsive prudence is simple: delete everything, remove everything, put the phone away. You know that. Because we are not only flooded with content from social networks, but we are also being investigated and spied on at the same time. With each step, we develop an algorithm that should meet our needs and become…