Is Kylie Jenner the boss of Facebook?

When it comes to social media, most of us don’t have much influence. We post an occasional political message or share our views on a favorite sports team, then watch a handful of people hit “Like” on Facebook or Instagram.

My “influence” (which is on purpose in quotes) is minimal, even with friends and family members, mainly because I’m not a celebrity and only have a few thousand subscribers. My only claim to fame is that Elon Musk tweeted one of my articles.

Apparently, if your name is Kylie Jenner and you have 363 million followers on Instagram alone, you can influence a lot of people.

In fact, it’s no exaggeration to suggest that it has an impact on the very functioning of social media platforms. A recent example is some interface changes on Instagram that were meant to make video much more prominent in the feed.

I wrote about this recently, suggesting that the major changes are aimed at making the photo-centric app look a lot more like TikTok.

Not so fast there.

I don’t think anyone steered these changes ahead of Kylie Jenner, who posted a story criticizing the changes. She seems to have the final stamp of approval.

Since Facebook (through parent company Meta) owns Instagram, that means she’s the boss. They may want to find him an office soon.

Now let me back up a bit and explain what’s going on with video in general. It all started a few years ago when we all realized we could film anything with our phones. Pratfalls was just the beginning. I literally learned how to rebuild a Range Rover engine by watching YouTube videos (in fact my nephew did the job); Recently, when I needed to reset a mesh network in my house to use internet in all rooms, I watched a quick explainer video on TikTok.

Video dominates the world. While we’ve all seen funny photos and graphic memes on Instagram, the real power of engagement in the attention economy comes when you post a video. It’s by no means lost on Instagram or Facebook, and they’re making efforts to capture that market.

Unfortunately, they don’t quite understand who runs the platforms.

It’s not Mark Zuckerberg, that’s for sure. Influencers wield all the influence. When they give you a thumbs up for a new feature, it can generate massive interest. If they say “stay in your lane” to Instagram, executives go back to their swanky Silicon Valley offices and say no matter.

Snapchat found out the hard way after Jenner noticed that she didn’t use the app much. Moment of mic drop, followed by stock drop.

The company lost around $1.3 billion in the stock market after tweeting about the company.

When influencers talk, you better listen or pay the price.

My question is, what comes next?

If the innovation is in the eye of the influencer, not the management team, trying new things can be difficult (if not downright impossible). It’s not like she’s on the board. I would say she is on a higher level, though. No one reports to him, but his influence extends far beyond any employee.

Let’s hope the Facebook and Instagram boss won’t tire of the Instagram feed anytime soon. She said she likes “pretty photos” of friends…at least for now.

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