What is going on?
That’s what Instagram users wanted to know Thursday morning when some people got a new version of the app that required them to tap through posts instead of scroll through them. Posts moved from right to left instead of up from the bottom of the phone screen.
Here’s video of what it looks like from Cheddar’s Alex Heath.
This is them punishing us for not watching IGTV— Greg Baroth (@gbaroth) December 27, 2018
People were up in arms over the change. Twitter — the service everyone uses to be outraged about things — was overflowing with angry reviews of the new update.
But it seems the update will be short-lived.
“Sorry about that, this was supposed to be a very small test but we went broader than we anticipated,” Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, wrote on Twitter. “Should already be rolled back. If you’re still seeing it you can simply restart your app and you should be good to go.”
There was some confusion with Instagram’s communications team. When asked for comment, a spokesperson told Recode that this wasn’t a test, but rather a bug.
“Due to a bug, some users saw a change to the way their feed appears today. We quickly fixed the issue and feed is back to normal. We apologize for any confusion,” a spokesperson said.
Hmmm. That seems unlikely considering some who got the feature also saw a screen explaining how to use it. Bugs don’t often come with explainer screens.
In either instance, it sounds as though the tap-to-advance feature may have had its 15 minutes of fame, though that doesn’t mean it will go away. Tech companies regularly push out unpopular updates if they think it will lead to more engagement down the line.
When Facebook rolled out News Feed, for example, angry users protested outside of the company’s office. When Twitter rolled out longer tweets, a lot of users were furious. Now, no one seems to care. (And Twitter looks silly for not doing it two years earlier as it had originally planned.)
It’s possible Instagram found that tapping through posts instead of scrolling through them increases how much people use the app.
On the other hand, Snapchat proved this year that some redesigns can have serious consequences for your business if you don’t get them right.