Instagram is trying to become TikTok to reclaim spot as top social media app

Georgina Smith
Instagramlogo on a phone

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri has claimed that Instagram is “no longer a photo-sharing app,” citing TikTok as one of their biggest competitors ahead of big changes to the platform.

For many years, Instagram served as one of the most popular social media apps, allowing people to share pictures of their life with friends and explore the content of various different creators. Instagram also became a hub for influencers to engage in sponsorship deals, and for many, it was their primary platform.

But then TikTok came along and become a massive hit globally. After Bytedance bought and merged with TikTok in 2018, it began a rapid rise to success. Now it is undeniably one of the most popular social media platforms out there, hosting a range of popular creators with tens of millions of followers, and serving as the primary hub of viral content on the internet.

The TikTok logo on a black screen
TikTok has become a hub for all sorts of viral trends.

As always, Instagram has been trying to keep pace with TikTok, and has even rolled out its own ‘Reels’ feature’ — a strikingly similar style of video content to TikTok itself.

Instagram even went as far as to move the post button, putting the Reels tab in its place, prompting a huge amount of backlash online.

However, it seems as though they’re not planning on stopping there, and in a video posted to Twitter, Instagram head Adam Mosseri revealed that big changes are coming to the platform.

Is Instagram becoming TikTok?

With Instagram looking like they plan to move away from their original roots, many have been left wondering whether the app plans on aligning themselves more closely with TikTok — and Mosseri himself reveals that TikTok is a big competitor.

“I want to start by saying, we’re no longer a photo-sharing app, or a square photo-sharing app,” he said. “The number one reason people say that they use Instagram in research is to be entertained. So people are looking to us for that.”

He continued: “Let’s be honest, there’s some really serious competition right now. TikTok is huge, YouTube is even bigger, and there’s lots of other upstarts as well.”

Mosseri said they plan to experiment with how they can embrace video more broadly, with “full-screen, immersive, entertaining, mobile-first” video. He added that within the space of the coming months, users will see Instagram experiment with a lot more features.

The video was flooded with comments from users who opposed the shift towards video content, urging them to keep their roots in photography. “You’re not TikTok, and people use Instagram BECAUSE it’s not TikTok,” user ohitore wrote in response.

With Instagram getting left behind as TikTok takes the lead with regard to mobile content, it’s clear they’re not prepared to give up just yet. But it’s possible that these big upcoming changes could begin to drive users away from Instagram rather than towards it.

About The Author

Georgina was formerly an entertainment writer for Dexerto. She covered all aspects of influencer culture on TikTok and more, including creators such as Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae. She also wrote about hit reality shows such as Love Island and Below Deck.