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On December 27th 2018 Instagram rolled out an update which radically changed the way users scrolled through their news

feeds. Instead of the age old scrolling up or down through posts, the update prompted users to tap the screen to scroll through posts; very similar to how users navigate through Instagram Stories. However, what was possibly intended as a late Christmas gift to its users turned into a ‘cyber brawl’ as users protested against the tap to scroll idea for the news feed.

Soon after the excrement began to hit the fan, Instagram came out to say that they had intended to test the feature amongst a small group of users but had inadvertently sent out the update to a wider user base (read: Global). Was this the truth or just a brilliant save? 😉 We’ll leave it to you to decide!


Given the massively negative reaction to the update, Instagram has been kind enough (read: Forced) to undo the tap to scroll option in a new update to the app. This is a good move as many users were threatening to delete the app and some possibly even did, but as with all junkies they’ll probably be back soon 😉

Why Was It So Annoying?


Scrolling through your news feed lets you see the posts of people you follow; it’s quick and easy to get information at

a glance. The tap to scroll system kind of made it mandatory for users to go through every single post… er… NO, THANK YOU! Even multiple picture posts had to be tapped through or you had to swipe down to skip (Yeah! Like, who knew?). Also interestingly, many users reported seeing ads after every 5 taps… er… NO, NO, NO THANK YOU! (Check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye-VgV8F7UM).


It’s clear why people found this update so infuriating. It’s all fun and cool with Instagram Stories, which we love, but when it comes to news feeds we feel a need to have some degree of control and that it needs to be easily accessible.

No one wants to be forced to look at posts they’d rather skip and absolutely no one wants to be forced to look at an ad every 5 taps (oh yeah Instagram, we saw what you were trying to do there *slow clap).


What Now?


Thanks to the backlash, Instagram was quick to release another update which undid their horrific sins 😛 If you’re still being forced to tap to scroll you probably need to close your app and re-launch it or update it. And if you’re not set to automatic updates and casually missed all this chaos… Well done you! Although you should probably keep your apps up to date to avoid security risks and bugs.

Instagram users are notorious for being resistant to major changes. For example, when the platform changed from a chronological news feed to an algorithmic one, people were not thrilled. However, with the violent backlash to this latest change to the news feed, it’s possible Instagram will forget the idea for the time being. Still, given the benefits to them from this scrolling method i.e. getting people to spend more time on the platform and more directly serving ads, it’s likely we’ll see them attempt to revive this terrible idea in the future. Let’s just hope that if that happens, the community will come together like it did this time round.


What do you think? Were you affected by the Instagram tap to scroll fiasco? Were you perhaps amongst the handful of people who actually liked it (tsk, tsk)?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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