Over the past few weeks, Instagram users have recognized a brand new update that completely changes the layout of the app. Drawing the focus towards shopping and IG reels and away from notifications, the update has received mostly negative feedback due to the belief that Instagram’s motive was primarily for potential monetary gain. While some may appreciate the focus on video-based content and driving traffic to brands, celebrities and influencers have not withheld their opinions on the change.
The new layout includes a bottom tab just for IG Reels, seemingly a way for Instagram to compete with its top competitor - TikTok, and draw immediate attention to this feature. The 30 second Reels are much more accessible as a featured section of the app, not just as a byproduct of scrolling through the Explore page. The “Shopping” tab has replaced the direct path to “Notifications”, which has now been moved to the top right corner of the homepage. While Instagram and others may argue that the new “Shop” feature brings awareness to small businesses, in reality, the stores that are recommended are mostly big brands such as Abercrombie and Urban Outfitters.
Business Insider wrote, “Now, you have to return to the home screen to access notifications and to create posts, stories, Reels, and to go live (which are all grouped together now under a function that's just called "New"). However, regardless of where you are on the app, you'll now have the ability to switch over seamlessly to Instagram's e-commerce platform, which it recently expanded to more businesses and creators in June 2020.” Many believe that the new layout has turned Instagram into a place of product, not of creation. Instagram has been widely responsible for social media marketings popularity, and every account is so clearly tailored to an individual or brand’s “image.” While videos are popular and wanted, Instagram’s specialty is telling stories through photos.
James Charles took to the app itself to express his dislike for the update stating in an Instagram story, "They moved everything around and it makes it very, very clear where their priorities lie, and that is making money and only making money.”