(Updated at 5:17 p.m. ET: A spokesperson for Meta sent this statement in response to complaints from Instagram users: “Based on our findings and community feedback, we are pausing the fullscreen test on Instagram so that we can explore new other options, and we’re temporarily decreasing the number of Recommendations you see in your feed so that we can improve the quality of your experience. We recognize that changes to the app may be an adjustment, and while we believe that ‘Instagram needs to evolve as the world changes, we want to take the time to make sure we’re doing it right.
Regarding recent algorithm improvements designed to combat the spread of misinformation, the spokesperson noted that Zuckerberg said on the call, “in general, we’ve made a lot of progress” on content moderation. “over the past few years, and I’m pretty proud of that.” He says most content moderation is done by AI, and the company’s Community Standards Enforcement Report will continue to monitor AI performance by tracking “what percentage of harmful content” systems “identify and take action before someone has to report it to us.”)
Hundreds of thousands of people recently signed a Change.org petition asking Instagram to stop eating up space in their feeds by recommending so many Reels from accounts they don’t follow. Shortly after, Instagram owner Meta confirmed that these users weren’t just imagining there was a sudden onslaught of Reels ruining their online social lives. Short videos currently make up about 15% of Instagram and Facebook user feeds, and soon, even more often, they will sideline any updates from friends that users choose to follow.
Despite all the negative feedback, Meta revealed on an earnings call that it plans to more than double the number of AI-recommended reels users see. The company estimates that in 2023, about a third of Instagram and Facebook feeds will be recommended content.
“One of the biggest transformations in our business right now is that social feeds are no longer primarily powered by the people and accounts you follow, but also by AI recommending content you find interesting on Facebook or Instagram. , even if you don’t follow those creators,” says Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta.
The company’s plan is to increase user engagement with Reels and then increase ad revenue through Reels ads. On the call, which was her last as COO, Sheryl Sandberg said Reels was part of Meta’s efforts to “relentlessly” innovate to provide “tools and products that help advertisers drive business results”.
For advertisers, Reels certainly appears as a new opportunity to reach users.
Sandberg cited an example where a sustainable seafood delivery company, Wild Alaskan Company, tested Reels during an advertising campaign that helped the company reduce subscription costs and increase return on spend. advertisers. Not all advertisers find Reels easy to use, but overall Meta says Reels is growing faster than Stories, with projections indicating Reels is on track to generate $1 billion in annual revenue, more than Stories during its first year.
“Reels’ strong growth continues to drive engagement on Facebook and Instagram,” Zuckerberg said, noting that Reels and the discovery engine recommend content as key parts of Meta’s strategy to generate enough ad revenue to overcome the current setbacks. He also said that user engagement is steadily increasing. He took this to indicate that Reels has improved the quality of user feeds by relying on sophisticated AI that has been better trained to recommend more content that users clearly find interesting, often sharing with friends and sparking new social commitments.
But many users refuse to see Reels as innovative or interesting. The petitioners complain that on Instagram they just want to see cute photos of friends and family, not more content from unknown accounts.
“STOP TRYING TO BE TIKTOK!” Posted Tati Bruening, creator of the Change.org despite (which is still up, with Meta sharing his plans to continue copying TikTok). The petition currently has a goal of 500,000 signatures. “We have TikTok for a reason, and let’s face it, the only reels uploaded are recycled TikToks and content the world has seen before. What’s innovative and unique about old, outdated content? Nothing!”
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