Instagram is making content physically longer, like TikTok

The company is testing a new way to show videos and photos in your feed, and it's similar to a certain ByteDance-owned platform.

Photo: Instagram

Instagram has announced a new test it’s running on its platform that aims to alter how content is displayed on your screen. As announced by the company’s head, Adam Mosseri, some users will begin seeing photos and videos that nearly fill their entire screen, with controls such as Like and Comment overlapping with the content itself. And no, you wouldn’t be incorrect if your initial response to this was “wait, doesn’t TikTok do this?”

Screenshots of the new interface shared by the company are similar to TikTok, with controls floating over photos and videos much like the ByteDance-owned app. Everything is also much taller and fills your screen better than before. Mosseri says this is part of a push to double-down on video in the app, as well as emphasize the company’s commitment to a mobile-first experience.

It’s impossible to not see where Instagram’s motivations lie. The company has been after TikTok’s success since the app began blowing up in 2020. Reels, Instagram’s TikTok alternative, now makes up over 20 percent of the time people spend on the app. Mosseri has also been vocal about the company’s plea to creators in the name of original content, asking them to avoid cross-posting from other apps like TikTok and awarding them cash bonuses for doing so.

While Instagram strives to make video a more centralized aspect of the company’s business, it won’t stray too far away from the days of photo sharing. The new layout will be available for pictures uploaded to the app, although it’s unclear whether you’ll be given a separate formatting tool when uploading a photo like when switching between 1:1 and 3:4 aspect ratios.

This test likely won’t reach a majority of users, but if it goes over well with those that do experience it, there’s a solid chance Instagram will roll it out widely.