Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom expressed his dissatisfaction with the direction in which the photo-sharing app has evolved.
Systrom commented that he believes the soul of what made Instagram special has been lost as the platform has turned into a marketplace.
He explained that he used to go on Instagram to see what his friends and family were up to, but now the app has become a business apparatus for creators and brands to make money.
Systrom expressed regret at how commercial Instagram has become, stating that there are incentives to go for more commercial creators, more deals, and more ad dollars.
This has led to people showcasing their apparently perfect lives with no bounds, doing the fanciest things, looking the best, and wearing the fanciest clothes, which he finds “terrifying”. He further commented that whatever people post on Instagram is only the tip of the iceberg, and that life is really hard.
The co-founder of Instagram also pointed out that his friends, who earlier used the app to share their vacation pictures and life moments, now have #AD in the description of most of their posts. He emphasized that this was not the Instagram that he and his team started.
Systrom’s comments come almost a decade after he sold Instagram to Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta (formerly Facebook) for $1 billion in 2012.
His statement highlights how he believes the app has changed since he left, and how he feels about it. It is worth noting that Instagram has been a significant driver of Facebook’s growth over the years, and has brought in billions of dollars in ad revenue.
Systrom’s critique is a reminder that companies evolve over time, and sometimes their direction may not align with the vision of their founders. In this case, Systrom believes that Instagram has lost its way and has become too commercialized.
His statement also raises questions about how social media platforms can balance the needs of advertisers with the needs of users, and how they can prevent their platforms from becoming too commercial.