Facebook may technically have more users than any other social media platform, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the most popular. Now it looks like someone at Facebook is at least a little jealous of Instagram’s success. At least, that’s what a new test hitting the Instagram app suggests.
As noted by Engadget, Instagram is testing a blurb at the top of users’ feeds that reminds them of features that are only available on Facebook. Among these are “how to find a job, date online, buy and sell goods, or catch up on the latest news,” according to Facebook rep’s statement to Engadget.
At the moment, it’s only a small test involving very few users, and the message can be removed. But it’s still a puzzling thing to see the biggest social network in the world essentially advertising itself on one of its smaller properties.
But it shouldn’t be surprising. Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly long been at least a little salty about Instagram’s meteoric success. A book released last year detailed that jealousy, including an instance where Zuckerberg was allegedly upset about IGTV’s icon looking too much like Messenger’s. As reportedly explained by a former Instagram exec, “Facebook was like the big sister that wants to dress you up for the party but does not want you to be prettier than she is.”
To be clear, we have no concrete evidence that someone at Facebook compelled Instagram to test this ‘feature’… but I mean, what reason does Instagram have? It benefits in no way by directing users to Facebook, but Facebook could definitely use the boost.
Quantitatively, Instagram posts typically see much higher engagement than Facebook ones. Anecdotally, people seem to actually enjoy using Instagram — or at least tolerate it — while many others actively dislike Facebook and only use the app begrudgingly.
At the very least, there’s never been a widespread #DeleteInstagram movement to match the various #DeleteFacebook ones. Instagram users also tend to be much younger, with one late 2020 report suggesting only 2% of American teens considered Facebook to be their favorite social platform, compared to 25% for Instagram (only Snapchat and TikTok were a little more popular).
While I have got to give Facebook some credit for not totally absorbing Instagram and WhatsApp into Facebook proper, it’s clear the company is slowly increasing its influence over its ‘smaller’ properties.
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