It was widely expected, and now it’s official. Adam Mosseri, the guy once in charge of Facebook’s algorithmically-powered, fake news-packed, enigmatic News Feed, is getting a promotion from Instagram VP to taking charge of the photo-sharing app altogether following the sudden departure of its founders.
We told you last week that with Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger gone, Instagram was most certainly poised to turn into Facebook 2.0, and today’s news (you could argue) makes that all but official. From Instagram’s announcement about the leadership news: “In his role leading Instagram, Adam will oversee all functions of the business and will recruit a new executive team including a head of engineering, head of product and head of operations.”
There’s a reason Instagram has grown in stature to become something of the crown jewel in Mark Zuckerberg’s big blue empire of apps. However you slice it or explain it, the bottom line is that users on the whole still generally like it. It hasn’t broken its users’ trust with one massive privacy scandal after another; it’s rolled features out methodically and purposefully, explaining them in detail along the way; and it hasn’t monkeyed around too much with users’ main feed such that they feel like they’re basically shouting into an empty, algorithmically controlled void. The addition of features like Insta Stories has also ensured that things stay, well, fun, in a way that Facebook stopped being a long time ago.
There’s some chatter internally, noted by TechCrunch, that Mosseri may be more sympathetic to the Facebook mothership since he spent so much time there and also is close to Zuckerberg himself. Per a TechCrunch report, “Mosseri will be tasked with balancing the needs of Instagram such as headcount, engineering resources, and growth with the priorities of its parent company Facebook, such as cross-promotion to Instagram’s younger audience and revenue to contribute to the corporation’s earnings reports.”
A lot of the commentary out today suggests Mosseri is probably the right leader for Instagram right now and that he’ll be a steady hand at the wheel, but we’re cautious, to say the least. What’s that old quote about the two ways to go bankrupt? You can do it slowly, and then all at once.
It may not start resembling the experience of using Facebook next week, next month or even next year. Here’s hoping it never does. But the writing is on the wall. Facebook’s embattled founder wants the myriad apps to start doing more to feed back into the app that started it all. The respective pieces of the Facebook conglomerate will either play ball — or, as we’ve already started to see, the founders will jump ship to keep from doing so.
“Kevin and Mike, we will never fill your shoes,” Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox wrote in a Facebook post today. “But we will work hard to uphold the craft, simplicity, elegance, and the incredible community of Instagram: both the team and the product you’ve built.” Here’s hoping.