What is Instagram? Is it a company operating under the Facebook umbrella, or is it simply another part of Facebook that happens to focus on a different app? That’s a subtle distinction, but one the company seems to be wrestling with.
As Wired reports, quoting a former employee using the pseudonym Jason:
“Initially, Facebook’s fear was that Instagram was becoming more of a force than Facebook. So there was a real jealousy because Instagram was seen as cool and Facebook was not,” he says.
Jason claims that Facebook’s paranoia resulted in a “self-imposed dominance” on the other apps that it owns….
This enforced closeness hasn’t always been welcomed by Instagram, particularly as Facebook began to become more associated with older users, disinformation and online radicalisation. “If you look at the differences between the ways in which Instagram and Facebook are perceived, one of the great fears that Instagram had was its connection to Facebook,” says Kevin, another former employee who left Instagram earlier this year.
This ‘identity crisis’ is nothing new to close watchers of the company, but it’s interesting to see that it causes friction internally at the company, too.
Instagram increasingly exists, as the article puts it, to ”[solve] a business problem for Facebook.“ But if it loses its soul and unique identity in the process, users might not be inclined to stick around.