Hell hath no fury like an Instagrammer who loses their memes. Yesterday, outraged users took to Twitter with complaints about their Explore page, which was suddenly lacking in the glorious mix of slime videos, puppies, and memes the discovery section has become known for. In their place: Rows of beautiful lifestyle photos, the sort you might see when scrolling through an aspirational brand's feed.
um why is my explore page on instagram full of nature and life lesson bs like where are my memes??? i’m actually having a crisis over here pic.twitter.com/IVn2g2nmiW— ??? ✿ yuwin au ? (@nayutawinko) May 3, 2018
Wtf just happened with my instagram explore page? This morning it was giving me everything I wanted: bey videos, puppies, makeup, Rihanna, drag race memes, plus that oddly satisfying category I love. Now it looks like the feed of a wannabe lifestyle brand and I AM PISSED— felly. (@kellyfrick) May 4, 2018
So I go to Instagram, to check my memes. Like always. INSTAGRAM TOOK AWAY MY MEMES. THERE IS NO MEMES ON MY EXPLORE I DEMAND MY MEMES BACK— Elizabeth (@hypnopixel) May 3, 2018
The redesign of Explore, which has long been hailed as a kind of magical cabinet of curiosities — you discover people and places you would not have found and followed otherwise, was announced at Facebook's developer conference on Tuesday. Instagram said the new Explore tab would encourage greater discovery and personalization, by basing recommended photos and videos on topic channels representing an individual user's interests. For example, animals and architecture.
Apparently, this revamped personalization is backfiring. The change — and immediate backlash — is similar to what Snapchat experienced in the last few months, since it redesigned its app. Earlier this week, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel talked about plans to roll out a redesign of the redesign in response to user outrage, which included brutally honest feedback from Kylie Jenner and a Change.org petition with over 1.2 million signatures.
Unlike Snapchat, however, it's unlikely Instagram would need to redesign its redesign if the outrage continues. It seems like more of a simple algorithm tweak, rather than an app layout issue.
This is the second major Instagram change to provoke such a negative user response. Since the app got rid of its chronological feed in 2016, users have pleaded for its return. These calls did not go unnoticed: In March, Instagram promised to push newer posts to the top of feeds.
The response to the Explore change serves as affirmation of the tab's value: Users don't just go to Instagram to see what their friends and favorite celebrities and brands are doing. They go to see the slimy, wacky combination of photos and videos it's hard to find anywhere else.
Unfortunately, there is no way to completely reset your Explore feed. However, you can still tap the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of an image and select "see fewer posts like this." That won't solve problem, but it will help adjust your preferences.
For now, the message to Instagram is clear: Bring back the memes.