Instagram has undergone significant changes since its inception as a social networking platform. Today, it is a hub for influencers and creators who use the platform to generate revenue. However, its co-founder, Kevin Systrom, is unhappy with its evolution.
Instagram’s Commercialization and Unintended Social Consequences
In a recent podcast interview with tech journalist Kara Swisher, Systrom expressed his regret about the commercialization of Instagram. He initially created the platform to keep in touch with friends and family, but it has since become a tool for business.
According to Systrom, Instagram’s commercialization incentivizes more commercialism, artists, partnerships, and advertising dollars, leading to unintended social consequences. He claims that Instagram now focuses on people living supposedly great lives with no boundaries, doing the fanciest things, looking the most beautiful, and wearing the fanciest things.
Perfection Competition and The Replacement App
Systrom is concerned that Instagram has led to a competition to see who can be the most perfect at everything. He believes that Instagram users think that the well-designed facades they see on the app represent people’s actual lives. However, Systrom explains that “whatever people post on Instagram is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how difficult life is.”
Systrom suggests BeReal as a replacement app where users can be themselves and capture themselves in authentic situations.
Systrom has kept a close eye on Instagram’s evolution in his feed. He claims that some of his acquaintances no longer upload pictures of their normal lives, but only “#advertising.” In his opinion, this is no longer the Instagram they started with.
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Despite his concerns, Systrom is no longer involved with Instagram. He left the platform in 2018 due to escalating tensions with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Today, he is a founding member of Artifact, an AI-driven messaging app unveiled earlier this year.