Instagram faced immediate backlash after mistakenly rolling out a test feature to a significantly larger number of app users than it intended to. The feature changed feed scrolling from vertical to horizontal, and made users tap or swipe each time they wanted to move to a new post.
“Seems maybe intended to reduce mindless vertical scrolling?” reporter Alex Heath tweeted (along with a sarcastic “I’m sure this will not be met with any backlash WHATSOEVER”).
I have the new Instagram horizontal scroll interface. I’m sure this will not be met with any backlash WHATSOEVER. But seems maybe intended to reduce mindless vertical scrolling? cc @mosseri comments at the end 😭 pic.twitter.com/fwmtbfjFaf
— Alex Heath (@alexeheath) December 27, 2018
Instagram’s recently-onboarded CEO Adam Mosseri responded to Heath, confirming that horizontal scrolling was “supposed to be a very small test, but we went broader than we anticipated.” The test has since been pulled, and Mosseri said anyone still seeing horizontal scrolling should reboot the app, and it’ll be fixed.
In the brief period of time the feature was live, it prompted a wave of upset on social media.
December 27th 2018
Here lies Instagram may it Rest In (horizontal) Peace pic.twitter.com/KaB5msHDTn
— brandon (@BrandonBarnard2) December 27, 2018
INSTAGRAM PLS I DONT WANNA TAP OR SWIPE, I WANNA SCROLL MY FEED WE NEED THE OLD YOU BACK !!!!!
— Dalia (@daliafarhana) December 27, 2018
— 9GAG (@9GAG) December 27, 2018
— Joey Lacus (@JoeyLacus) December 27, 2018
Everyone: the year can’t get any worse
— Call Me By My @ (@NotAgainBen) December 27, 2018
An Instagram rep told Variety that the bigger-than-expected rollout was due to a bug, but didn’t offer any other information about whether horizontal scrolling will be re-tested or how serious the company is about considering it for full-scale implementation.
While Heath had Mosseri on the line, though, he asked the exec about another of Instagram’s much-disliked features — one that did end up sticking around:
— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) December 27, 2018