Facebook’s Instagram head on Wednesday announced social network plans to begin showing users full screen, recommended videos in their feeds.
“We’re also going to be experimenting with how do we embrace video more broadly — full screen, immersive, entertaining, mobile-first video,” Mosseri said in a video posted on Wednesday. “You’ll see us do a number of things, or experiment with a number of things in this space over the coming months.”
More precisely, Mosseri says the app has plans to show users full-screen videos in their streams. This includes videos it recommends to users, including the accounts they are not already tracking. “Users will start to see Instagram’s experiments with these changes over the coming months”, he said.
“We’re no longer a photo-sharing app or a square photo-sharing app,” Mosseri said.
This represents a dramatic shift for Instagram, which so far has been mostly an app where users can see square-sized images of their friends and the accounts they follow. The change in content presentation will align Instagram in more direct competition to TikTok belonging to China, a new entrant in the social applications market.
Mosseri has specifically pointed out TikTok as well as YouTube, which belongs to Google, as serious competitors and reasons for those changes.
“Let’s be honest, there’s some really serious competition right now,” he said. “TikTok is huge, YouTube is even bigger, and there’s lots of other upstarts as well.”
Already, Instagram has made competing with TikTok a priority by launching Reels in August 2020. Reels is a short-form video feature that allows Instagram users to create content with overlaid audio and augmented reality effects, much as they already can on TikTok.
“People are looking to Instagram to be entertained, there’s stiff competition and there’s more to do,” Mosseri said. “We have to embrace that, and that means change.”