Instagram chief relocates to London as Meta scrambles to counter TikTok

Instagram boss moves to London as the photo-sharing app struggles to stem an exodus of users to Chinese rival TikTok.

Adam Mosseri will set up his new base later this year at Instagram parent company Meta’s King’s Cross offices.

The executive is temporarily relocating to the UK to work with Instagram’s London-based creator monetization team. The team creates features for people who make money – or make a living – from the photo filter website: typically celebrities or influencers with a large following.

A spokesperson for Meta said: “Given the global nature of his role, Adam will be temporarily based out of London later this year. London is already Meta’s largest engineering hub outside of the US with over 4,000 employees across our offices, including a dedicated Instagram product team with employees focused on building long-term solutions for developers.”

Mr Mosseri’s planned move comes amid stiff competition between Instagram and video-sharing app TikTok to win over audiences. Launched in 2016, TikTok has grown rapidly over the past few years and has become very popular among Gen Z. Though it’s only six years old, a recent poll found that TikTok now surpasses the BBC as the primary source for teen news videos.

Instagram recently revamped its app to include more autoplay videos to compete with its Chinese-owned rival, but the changes prompted a backlash from some of its key users.

Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, her half-sister, both urged Instagram to “stop trying to be TikTok.” The couple own two of the top ten most followed accounts on Instagram with more than 600 million followers. Meta said last week it would roll back some of the changes made to Instagram following widespread backlash.

Efforts to compete with TikTok are gaining momentum at the booths of Instagram’s parent company. Meta, which also owns Facebook and WhatsApp, saw its first revenue decline last week amid flagging demand from advertisers.

Instagram remains bigger than TikTok. Meta doesn’t break down Instagram’s revenue separately from WhatsApp, Facebook, and Facebook Messenger, but the combined apps made $115 billion in revenue last year. In comparison, TikTok posted $4.2 billion in revenue in 2021.

The Chinese app has about a billion monthly active users, only half of Instagram’s user base.

Still, TikTok is growing much faster, adding 400 million new users between 2020 and 2021. It took Instagram three years to grow from 1 billion to 2 billion users.

TikTok has around 1,300 employees in London, its largest office in Europe.

The majority of Instagram’s engineers work in San Francisco and New York. It is understood Mr Mosseri’s move will not affect the app’s headquarters or employee base. Instagram is currently only advertising one position in London.

Mr. Mosseri joined Facebook in 2008 and led the team that developed Facebook’s core newsfeed algorithms. He moved to Instagram in 2018 after the original founders quit.

He has worked from locations such as Los Angeles, Hawaii and Cape Cod in the past as part of a broader strategy for his executives to work from anywhere in the world.

Last week’s financial results showed that Meta’s headcount grew by a third over the year. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in early July he wanted managers to “identify people who shouldn’t be here” as part of a cost-cutting campaign. Instagram chief relocates to London as Meta scrambles to counter TikTok

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