Please Stop Getting Your Instagram News From the Change.Org Petition


Please stop getting your Instagram news from the Change.Org petition. Normally I don't address feature changes on the blog because they happen so much and so often, that it's a waste of time for me to spend the effort. For that I round everything up in my weekly newsletter to keep you informed.

But it seems that misinformation is being spread like wild fire, and quite honestly it's making me a little nuts. So I want to address it. Specifically the Instagram page.

I have seen repeatedly online over the past few days people quoting and referring to Instagram is "now listening" and "they've changed their mind for now," all attributing to hearing this from the the Instagram Change.Org page update (see below).


But the thing is, nothing has changed. It's business as usual at IG HQ. Yet people are talking about how Instagram has changed their mind and reversed their decision. Ummm, no.

When Instagram announced on March 15th upcoming changes they said then that they were listening, and that changes would not happen for a few months. Please see below. The tweet that the Instagram Change.Org petition is referring to is not news. Nothing is different.

Stop the madness.

Instagram also released a statement yesterday saying as reported in Re/Code:

“This is not being implemented tomorrow,” a spokesperson wrote in a statement provided to Re/code. “We still have weeks, or even months, of testing to go. Currently the test groups are very small. When we roll it out broadly, we will definitely let the community know.”

This is common when dealing with a community online. It's important to let their users know that "they are listening," but they are continuing as normal. Nothing has changed. They haven't held off on anything - they are proceeding as normal. They are a business working on a roadmap of carefully laid out decisions that took place a long time ago. Nothing will change that, other than real catastrophic mistakes or road blocks. And an algorithm is not that and a petition most likely will not stop it.

The Keep Instagram Chronological petition initially created a letter that said:

LETTER TO Instagram

We are users of Instagram and do not want to be forced into having our feeds display in an order chosen by an algorithm. We want the ability to at least choose to keep our feeds in chronological order.

We believe an algorithm-based feed will be detrimental to small business owners and artists who use this platform to communicate their products and services. Not to mention the communities that have been built within Instagram.

Please listen to our feedback as users of your platform and at least give us the ability to choose how we see our feed."

They also went on to say (emphasis mine):

"we don't want change that we know is going to hurt the Instagram community."

A few things I want to address here:

  1. OK first of all, please don't rely on one social media platform for your marketing, you should always be evolving and rethinking your plan online. Nothing ever stays the same, your marketing strategy shouldn't either.
  2. Second, Instagram is a business, they have to make decisions that will build their business. They don't knowingly make decisions that will damage their user base. That is simply bad business.
  3. Third, I know this is hard to hear but they don't owe you anything, it is a free platform - please see first point. You checked off a box when you signed up for the service agreeing to their Terms of Service. This means they can do or change anything and you okayed it.
  4. Fourth, The Keep Instagram Chronological petition is basing what they "know" on an algorithm change that happened 4 years ago. Four years ago. Look we all know how upsetting it was when Facebook changed their algorithm to throttle page views. It sucked. But that was a CENTURY ago in tech time. Look at other algorithms that now work, and work well: Pinterest and Twitter come to mind.

Please, please, please educate yourself on these sorts of things. Social media is not Orwellian. It's not. These are business, "making businessy changes" as Sonya Philip so eloquently put:

There has been a fever pitch over the past few days and it's been absolutely bonkers. We are all responsible for the noise and information we spread online and in real life. Take care of your business at all times, especially in times of uncertainty. Seek out solid information, read reliable tech news and journalism, subscribe to people you trust that have a solid record for sharing correct information. We have all made mistakes in the past, I know I have. But honestly, the hysteria around Instagram has reached epic proportions and I really had to lay this out.

Questions? Let me know below.

P.S. If you are interested in hearing more from me on this, I broadcasted yesterday on Periscope regarding why I think it's a bad idea to ask people to turn on their notifications and thoughts about moving to Ello.

Meighan O'Toole

Always all in.