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Looking back: Instagram faces off with TikTok in 2021

Instagram changed drastically in 2021 by giving users more control, increasing their focus on internet safety - specifically for teenagers, and by diversifying the app to include video sharing.

Instagram changed drastically in 2021 by giving users more control, increasing their focus on internet safety – specifically for teenagers, and by diversifying the app to include video sharing.

Behind the scenes, Instagram was hard at work to ensure that their platform is safe and supports users’ well being. They’ve dedicated a lot of time to ensure that users can control their experience — by hiding like counts, turning off comments, and allowing folks to hide certain words even in DMs.

Some of these features are health and safety focused and include giving users more control over sensitive content; allowing them to see more or less of some types. Users can also restrict other accounts from interacting with them on the app to avoid unwanted interactions.

There was also a lot of focus on introducing safety features for young users in particular, including restrictions on what content is algorithmically recommended to teens, and launching parental control tools for parents to manage their teens activity and time spent on the app.

All of these features came just in time for Instagram’s diverse shift to video content across the platform. Shifting their focus from photo sharing, Instagram brought together IGTV, video posts, stories, and introduced the Reels feature, making for an extremely versatile and engaging user experience.

Coming in with a vengeance, Reels were a driving force for much of Instagram’s growth in 2021, allowing them to compete with upstart TikTok which has no doubt played a major role in inspiring some of the change we’re seeing. A significant part of that inspiration comes in the form of tools that are meant to help users create better content in the app.

Instagram is only just getting started in terms of launching creator tools that help to uplift small creators on the platform—and so far, people have been loving it. Without a doubt, there will be many more new features to come in 2022.

Check back next week where we give our predictions on what’s to come!

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