Instagram will adopt fullscreen, mobile-first content in response to TikTok and YouTube

You’ll soon be able to share fullscreen Instagram content on the platform as Facebook works to make the service more like rival TikTok, according to Instagram’s head Adam Mosseri.


  • Instagram will be experimenting with hosting fullscreen video content
  • Fullscreen videos may appear in feeds, including recommended videos
  • Users can currently post fullscreen videos as Reels, IGTV or Stories

An image showing fullscreen Instagram experience with Reels

Instagram’s response to the success of rivals like TikTok

Facebook is readying big changes to Instagram, like permitting users to share fullscreen videos beyond IGTV, Reels and Stories. With the change, Facebook appears determined to seek ways to distance its popular photo-sharing service from the current square image format, especially seeing the success of rivals like TikTok and YouTube with mobile-first, fullscreen video.

“We’re no longer a photo-sharing app or a square photo-sharing app,” Instagram head Adam Mosseri declared in a video shared via his social media accounts on Instagram and Twitter.

We’re also going to be experimenting with how do we embrace video more broadly—full screen, immersive, entertaining, mobile-first video. You’ll see us do a number of things, or experiment with a number of things in this space over the coming months.

Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram

Mosseri went on to name ByteDancee’s TikTok and Google’s YouTube as the primary reasons for the changes (and there are lots of other upstarts as well). At any rate, you’ll be seeing Instagram’s experiments over the coming months as the company tests the changes with a broader audience before determining to which specific features people respond favorably.

With that said, implementing the changes won’t guarantee success.

Why Instagram doesn’t want to be a square photo-sharing app

Instagram remains the most popular photo-sharing service, but TikTok has seen tremendous growth since its inception and Google’s YouTube keeps adding new popular video formats

Facebook in August 2020 attempted to take on TikTok with Reels, a new dedicated tab within the Instagram app hosting short-form videos set to music and featuring augmented reality effects. Thus far, however, Reels seems to have been lagging behind TikTok and YouTube.

We think Facebook has finally come to the realization that content alone isn’t enough. In this day and age of short attention spans, such videos must be presented in compelling ways because people don’t want to be bored.

“People are looking to Instagram to be entertained, there’s stiff competition and there’s more to do,” Mosseri added. “We have to embrace that, and that means change.”

Instagram will share more detail about its plans in the coming weeks and months.