Instagram users were taken by surprise on Thursday when a new update spiraled their feeds into chaos by completely changing the way people engage with the app. Instead of a vertical scroll, the social media platform briefly changed to a horizontal feed — similar to Instagram stories — in which users would have to manually swipe from one post to the next.
In addition to only being able to view a single post at a time, the new layout also apparently resulted in comments being displayed much more prominently. Suffice to say, people were not amused, as many flocked to Twitter to complain about the surprise update.
Instagram head Adam Mosseri attempted to do a bit of damage control in response to the backlash. “That was supposed to be a very small test that went broad by accident,” he tweeted. “Should be fixed now. If you’re still seeing it simply restart the app. Happy holidays!”
“Just a test that went to a few orders of magnitude more people than intended,” he added to another irate user.
Meanwhile, the official Instagram Twitter account posted a contrasting apology, blaming the incident on a so-called bug. “We quickly fixed the issue and feed is back to normal. We apologize for any confusion,” the company explained.
But people were definitely not buying that explanation.
The “accidental” update should hardly come as a surprise. Earlier this year, Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger resigned from the company after clashing with Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, which bought the platform in 2012. Among the planned changes were a “regram” feature supposedly geared to spike engagement and increase ad pricing.
“With the founders out of the way, it’s very likely the Instagram that users know and love will soon cease to exist entirely,” wrote The Week back in September, and Thursday’s update seems to be just a taste of what the app has in store to maximize ad traffic (potentially at the expense of user experience).