Instagram reaches a billion users - and other things we learnt from boss Kevin Systrom

By Daniel Rosney
Newsbeat reporter

image copyrightGetty Images

Instagram founder Kevin Systrom says it's "on the top of our minds" to ensure the platform improves the impact it has on people's mental health.

In an exclusive interview with Newsbeat to promote its new feature IGTV, he says: "We want to make sure we're a positive force in the world".

It has been suggested Instagram is the worst social media platform in relation to young people's mental health.

It's just announced a new feature which encourages users to spend longer on it.

IGTV lets users create content that's up to an hour long.

media captionInstagram released this video to promote IGTV

Here's what we learned while speaking to Instagram's founder.

1. Instagram has reached a billion users

image copyrightGetty Images

Kevin revealed to Radio 1 Newsbeat the company now has a billion users.

"I still today think our proudest accomplishment is building a thriving community of a billion, which is just wild beyond our wildest beliefs," he said.

The platform started off as a photo sharing app, evolving into minute-long videos and then the creation of Instagram Stories.

2. The feed won't revert back to being chronological

Instagram's main feed used to be in chronological order but that changed a few years ago, resulting in push back from users.

"Data shows very clearly that people enjoy Instagram more when they don't miss posts from their friends," Kevin said.

"The reason why we went to a ranked feed was because we realise people were actually missing a tonne of the posts from the people you care most about - we reordered the feed to show the stuff that you missed."

He acknowledged the criticism but says it won't change back anytime soon.

3. It struggles moderating all its content

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionYouTube has been criticised for content allowed on to its platform in the past, most recently from Logan Paul

Going forward with IGTV, not all clips uploaded will be watched by someone at Instagram, meaning it relies on people reporting content.

Like all content on Instagram, IGTV will follow its rules and regulations - which include a ban on violent, nude, discriminatory or hateful content.

Earlier this year YouTube had to apologise for not reacting quickly enough when one of its stars, Logan Paul, uploaded a vlog showing the body of a man who had killed himself in a forest in Japan.

"We have large teams working on this," Kevin says.

"We're keeping a keen eye on it because we want to make sure Instagram is a safe, welcoming and kind platform for all."

4. You'll be able to see how long you spend on Instagram

In recent months there have been questions about the impact social media has on its users - from how much time is spent on it to the way it can make us feel about ourselves.

Kevin says: "We need to be responsible both as individuals and as a company about how much time we spend on social media.

"Recently we confirmed a leak, which we never do, of a feature we're working on which allows you to know how long you're spending on Instagram and manage that time.

"Both of those things are deeply important to us and will be no different to IGTV."

5. Celebrity voices count

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Earlier this year Kylie Jenner tweeted she was "sooo over" Snapchat - which resulted in the company losing £1bn in its value.

While Kevin says he doesn't "pay attention" to the markets, he admits it's "no surprise their opinion can matter a lot".

He says it's important for Instagram to listen to its other community members as much as its high-profile users.

"There are hundreds of millions of other people using the service every single day. Our goal is to keep those in balance."

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