Instagram Hijacks Your Scroll

To inject ads you cannot skip into your eyes. JFC.
Instagram confirms test of ‘unskippable’ ads | TechCrunch
The change would see Instagram becoming more like the free version of YouTube, which requires users to view ads before and in the middle of watching videos.

When I saw the chatter about this yesterday, I assumed it was something Instagram was testing in the Stories portion of the app for people who go from one Story to the next. Right now, if you do that, they have ads in between, but you can just tap-to-skip past. Not letting you skip, sadly, was probably inevitable as the need to grow revenue always eats any and all user experience.

But wait. This is actually different. Something far worse.

Per this screenshot from Dan Levy, Instagram is testing these un-skippable ads in your main feed. As in, you're scrolling through your friends photos and suddenly you can no longer scroll until the ad timer runs out. This is beyond "bonkers", as Levy puts it. It's user-hostage bullshit.

I'm sorry, Instagram, you're not allowed to hijack this user interaction in this way. Again, it's one thing to delay a tap, it's another to halt a scroll. It's a bridge too far. For years and years, we've allowed you to try to catch our gaze mid-scroll with an ad. I personally think it sucks, but for most users, it's fine. And clearly, it works.

It worked on Facebook – and it's so "mature" at this point that nearly my entire feed is just ads. In fact, it's hard to imagine you could shove any more ads into the Facebook feed as it would be just ads in place of ads at this point. And it all works on Instagram, in a slightly more elegant way, in my opinion, since that format was visual from the get-go. Time to ruin that, clearly.

“We’re always testing formats that can drive value for advertisers,” a Meta company spokesperson told TechCrunch. “As we test and learn, we will provide updates should this test result in any formal product changes,” they noted.

You've been driving "value for advertisers" for years at this point. How about we go back to focusing on value for users? Of course, that would likely mean fewer ads, which will never happen – unless you live in Europe, where it had to happen, by government decree. Of course, that means paying for the service. Something which I would probably do too, if it removed the ads.

Instead, we get this. A full on test of a turd in the Christmas stocking. Amazingly, it may be only the second worst idea Meta has had in recent months...1

Is there some sort of cute name for a law whereby any service on the web which is around long enough eventually moves towards becoming 100% ads? There should be.

1 Third worst for me, personally.