Instagram Co-Founder Laments Platform’s Shift to Commercialization

In this article, we delve into the recent remarks by Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, who believes the platform has lost its soul as it shifts its focus to commercialization.

We will discuss the consequences of this shift and explore possible alternatives for those seeking a more authentic social media experience.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom believes the platform has lost its soul.
  • Systrom cites the increasing commercialization and focus on ad revenues as reasons for Instagram’s transformation.
  • The shift towards commercialization has created a “race to the bottom” of perfection, which may have negative social consequences.

A Disheartening Change of Direction

In a recent conversation with tech reporter Kara Swisher on her podcast, Instagram’s co-founder Kevin Systrom voiced his dismay at the path the platform has taken, saying, “I feel like we’ve strayed from the essence that defined Instagram.” 

Systrom believes this deviation stems from the growing emphasis on commercial pursuits and advertising revenue, as more and more creators and companies turn to the platform as a source of earnings.

The Social Consequences of Commercialization

Systrom notes that Instagram’s current incentives are directed towards more creators, deals, and ad dollars, which can have unintended negative consequences on the platform’s users. 

The increasing focus on portraying seemingly perfect lives through curated content creates a dynamic where users may feel pressured to measure up to unrealistic standards, ultimately fostering a “terrifying” environment.

The Impact on User Experience

The co-founder of Instagram has witnessed the platform’s transformation firsthand, with friends who once shared personal moments now posting sponsored content with the hashtag “#ads.” 

Systrom feels that this shift in content undermines the original vision of Instagram as a platform for sharing genuine moments.

Exploring Alternative Platforms

As a possible antidote to Instagram’s increasingly commercialized environment, Systrom mentioned BeReal, an app where users can capture and share authentic moments. 

BeReal aims to provide a more genuine social media experience, in contrast to the curated perfection often found on Instagram.

Life After Instagram

Kevin Systrom’s comments come nearly five years after he and fellow co-founder Mike Krieger left Instagram due to tensions with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. 

Since selling Instagram to Facebook (now Meta) in 2012 for $1 billion, Systrom has co-founded Artifact, an AI-powered news app launched earlier this year.


As Instagram continues its evolution towards a more commercialized platform, its co-founder’s concerns highlight the potential consequences of this shift for users. 

While some may seek out alternative platforms such as BeReal for a more authentic social media experience, others will have to navigate the increasingly competitive and pressure-filled environment that Instagram has become.


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