Huge changes could be coming to Instagram.
Instagram has changed a lot over the past few years since the Facebook acquisition in 2012, so what I hear you say. Well, the difference is the original co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger continued to run Instagram and was given some freedom after the acquisition.
But not anymore, they have both quit.
Why now? Why after 6 years of being acquired by Facebook would they both quit together? Well according to Kevin Systrom one of the co-founders it was to "explore our curiosity and creativity again" this makes it sound a lot like they wasn't allowed to be creative anymore. But Instagram was mostly left in their hands after the acquisition so why couldn't they be creative? Well, there have been multiple reports discussing how there has been tension between the co-founders and Facebook more specifically Mark Zuckerberg the CEO.
So what exactly happened between them and Mark Zuckerberg?
Well, the pair hasn't said a lot as to why apart from vague statements about starting "the next chapter" Zuckerberg hasn't said much either "I've learned a lot working with them for the past six years and have really enjoyed it, I'm looking forward to seeing what they build next." This isn't surprising as starting drama between them looks very unprofessional and could have massive effects on their careers as well as the Instagram and Facebook platforms.
To to find the truth we have to dig a bit deeper.
Looking at the Monthly active user base for Instagram it has been rapidly increasing going from 50 Million in 2012 when Facebook bought the company for $1 Billion in 2018. Getting an extra 100 million users every few months going from 800 Million users in September 2017 to 1 Billion users in June 2018 - that's just 8 months!
Compare this to Facebook where at the start of 2018 for the first time ever they saw a loss of users in Europe and a stagnation of viewers in the US & Canada. Their growth is nowhere near 100M every few months.
Instagram's massive success puts pressure on Facebook.
We've seen this with the rapid changes to Instagram over the years adding multiple new features that many people think are against the original spirit of the app and its simplicity. Being able to post up to an hour long video through the new IGTV is something nobody was wishing for with the original Instagram videos were limited to 3-60 seconds.
Clearly, this is Facebooks attempt to compete with YouTube as they had added similar measures into their own platform with large pushes for live streams and video. Allowing you to live stream for longer and upload videos of a higher quality and greater length. Seeing Instagram's success they pushed these changes onto the platform as well.
You may be wondering how this affects the co-founders.
This sheds a lot more light onto what the two co-founders were talking about when they talked about exploring their curiosity and creativity again, Facebook has been applying pressure on them to make changes to the platform to compete with other larger platforms like YouTube without thinking if it is a positive change for the platform overall.
This sounds like a crazy theory but here's the proof.
IGTV one of the latest changes made to rival YouTube was criticised recently due to recommending sexually suggestive videos of young girls to users, yes you heard that right. This is a very clear example of them not having the infrastructure in place to deal with this new system, rushing it out to compete with YouTube rather than working on it carefully and making sure it is a good fit for the platform.
So what does this mean for Instagram?
With the two original owners gone it means that Facebook and more specifically Mark Zuckerberg will have a much larger influence on what happens to the platform and ultimately do whatever they like with it. Before the co-founders had some influence and were able to resist a few of Facebooks changes but not anymore.
You can expect large drastic changes coming to Instagram
These changes will likely turn Instagram into a platform that is a lot more like Facebook designed for sharing all different types of media and being a platform built for the advertisers, directly competing with sites like YouTube.
In short, Instagram will lose what makes it special.