Here’s Why Meta Is Committed to Recreating TikTok’s Algorithm
Photo by Dima Solomin on Unsplash

Here’s Why Meta Is Committed to Recreating TikTok’s Algorithm

TikTok’s algorithm is dominating the social media landscape.

Instagram recently increased its push to re-create TikTok’s success, with the company changing its platform to prioritize Reels. Facebook is also shifting its interface to prioritize algorithmic content over posts from friends—and as companies try to increase user engagement and ad revenue, some users long for distinctly different platforms. Both Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner shared a petition via Instagram stories urging the app to “stop trying to be tiktok.” The petition, which has over 160,000 signatures, was launched by photographer Tati Bruening and requests a return to a focus on photos.


“We have TikTok for a reason, and let’s face it, the only reels uploaded are recycled TikToks and content that the world has already seen,” Bruening wrote in the petition. “What’s innovative and unique about old stale content? Nothing!”

Instagram head Adam Mosseri took to Reels Tuesday morning to reassure users that the app will still support photos, even though “more and more of Instagram is going to become video over time,” he said.

Evan Britton, founder of Santa Monica-based Famous Birthdays, told dot.LA that the pivot to video stems from advertising trends. It’s harder for advertisers to place a video ad between photos than between videos. Switching mediums allows Instagram to make more revenue per user, Britton said. Some analysts believe Reels has the potential to surpass TikTok in ad revenue.

Britton also said Instagram’s previous model of chronological, friend-based feeds would eventually lead to a lack of content to view, whereas algorithms provide an endless loop of content and increase engagement.

Though users are more comfortable controlling their feeds, Britton said drawing in viewers through the algorithm helps with post interaction. Gen Z, in particular, uses TikTok more than other social media platforms because of its interest-driven algorithm. He said pushback stems from the late-in-the-game shift from Instagram’s original interface. Despite complaints, Britton believes there is no practical reason for Meta to abandon its commitment to video.

“When people open up Instagram and it is slowly morphing, more and more, into Tik Tok, people are going to stay longer,” Britton said. “If people didn't love Instagram so much they wouldn’t be concerned about it changing.”

Major influencers like the Kardashian-Jenner clan probably want their preferred social media platforms to have distinct differences, as do the microinfluencers who have struggled to navigate the ever-changing algorithms. But, Kim, there’s people that are dying—including social mediacompanies that have to make a profit off of free content.

“It's going to [result in] higher revenue per user for watching videos, and there'll be more engagement in time in the app because there's an endless supply of content because it's based on interests versus who you follow,” Britton said.

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David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

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