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The IGTV feature, which also has its own app, allows users to post videos that can be up to one hour long and do not expire, unlike Instagram stories, which are a maximum of 10 seconds long each and expire within 24 hours of posting.
"We made some small updates last week based on how we saw people using IGTV that aim to make things simpler and easier. IGTV is seeing strong growth and these updates further illustrate our commitment to IGTV," a Facebook spokesperson said.
Instagram removed the IGTV icon in the top right corner of users' feeds after learning "that most people are finding IGTV content through previews in Feed, the IGTV channel in Explore, creators' profiles and the standalone app," and "very few are clicking into the IGTV icon in the top right corner of the home screen in the Instagram app," the spokesperson said in a statement.
"We always aim to keep Instagram as simple as possible, so we're removing this icon based on these learnings and feedback from our community," the statement continued.
Users can now upload IGTV content to their feeds the same way they upload posts and stories and choose whether they want to upload "long" or "short" videos. Viewers will also now be able to minimize an IGTV video while scrolling through their own personal feeds, a spokesperson said.
Since Instagram launched IGTV on June 20, 2018, the IGTV app received just 7 million downloads compared to Instagram's more-than 1 billion active users, TechCrunch reported, citing a commissioned study by Sensor Tower.
In the U.S., Instagram's IGTV app received 1.1 million downloads while video competitor TikTok, which has proved to be majorly successful among young users, comparatively received 80.5 million downloads in the U.S. over the same time period. Tiktok, however, spent significantly more on advertising than IGTV, according to the report.
The regular Instagram app outpaced Tiktok in app downloads in 2019, according to Apple's "Best of 2019" report.
The IGTV feature is still available on Instagram and can be reached by visiting other users' profiles, visiting an IGTV tab on the explore page or simply clicking on teasers for IGTV posts that appear while browsing feeds or stories.
Another issue some Instagram users and influencers have with IGTV is the fact that Instagram does not pay for content posted on IGTV, while other video apps like YouTube and Facebook Watch do. A limited number of celebrities do get some reimbursement for IGTV content through contracts with Instagram, but they cannot discuss certain topics like politics and social issues, Bloomberg reported in November.
"In the last few years, we’ve offset small production costs for video creators on our platforms and have put certain guidelines in place," a Facebook spokesperson told Bloomberg. "We believe there’s a fundamental difference between allowing political and issue-based content on our platform and funding it ourselves."