Instagram's Kevin Weil doesn't worry about Snapchat | Disrupt NY 2017 | Summary and Q&A

May 16, 2017
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Instagram's Kevin Weil doesn't worry about Snapchat | Disrupt NY 2017

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In this video, the former VP of Product at Twitter and current VP at Instagram talks about the changes in his job and the continuous launch of new features at Instagram. He discusses the recent launch of Instagram face filters and how they put their own spin on them. He also addresses the issue of copying features from Snapchat and the importance of focusing on solving problems for the Instagram community. The video also touches on the growth and success of Instagram stories, the impact on Snapchat, the significance of location features, the introduction of an algorithmic feed, and the level of independence Instagram maintains within Facebook.

Questions & Answers

Q: How has your job changed since moving from Twitter to Instagram?

At Instagram, it has been a fantastic experience building products for a community of over 700 million people. The scale and impact of Instagram's product launches have made my job more exciting and fulfilling.

Q: What is the new feature that was recently launched on Instagram?

Instagram just launched face filters, which are similar to Snapchat's filters. These filters add a fun and creative element to Instagram, allowing users to add unique effects to their photos and videos.

Q: How did Instagram put its own spin on the face filters?

Instagram wanted to ensure that the face filters felt natural to the platform. They paid attention to every detail and added unique touches to each filter. For example, the Koala filter mimics the lifelike movements of a koala's ears, creating a more authentic experience.

Q: How does Instagram differentiate itself from Snapchat with face filters?

Instagram focuses on building a cohesive product that includes a variety of features like the feed, stories, live streaming, and direct messaging. While Snapchat was the first to introduce stories, Instagram has made it their own by integrating it with other features and constantly improving the overall user experience.

Q: Is it honorable to copy another product?

Honorable might not be the right word, but it's common for good ideas to start in one place and spread across the industry. The important thing is to focus on solving problems for users, and if a feature aligns with that goal, it can be adopted by different platforms.

Q: Did employees express any concern about copying Snapchat?

At Instagram, the focus is on solving problems and making the product better for users. The team is driven by a mission to create a platform where people feel comfortable sharing all the moments of their lives. As long as the features serve this purpose, employees see them as valuable additions to the product.

Q: Has the algorithmic feed been successful for Instagram?

Yes, the algorithmic feed has been a significant improvement. It ensures that users see the most relevant content from the people and brands they care about. The algorithm has increased engagement and made the overall Instagram experience more personalized.

Q: Is location becoming more important for Instagram?

Instagram has always recognized the value of location through its location pages. The introduction of location stickers and the ability to view stories from a specific location are indications that Instagram is exploring ways to utilize location data further. It provides additional opportunities to showcase relevant content to users.

Q: How does Instagram maintain its independence within Facebook?

Instagram benefits from being a part of Facebook by leveraging its technology, infrastructure, and global reach. However, Instagram still has a level of autonomy in determining its roadmap and building the product that best suits its community's needs. This collaboration allows Instagram to move faster and bring cutting-edge features to its users.

Q: Are there any disadvantages to copying instead of creating something original?

The focus should always be on solving problems and addressing user needs. If a feature already exists and serves those purposes, there is value in incorporating it rather than reinventing the wheel. Instagram ensures that any features it adopts are integrated seamlessly into the overall product experience. The goal is to provide a platform where users feel comfortable sharing all aspects of their lives.


Instagram has shifted from being a platform where users only posted their best moments to being a place where they can share more authentic and everyday experiences through stories. The continuous launch of new features, such as face filters, location stories, and an algorithmic feed, has made Instagram a more dynamic and engaging platform. By focusing on solving problems for its community and maintaining its independence within Facebook, Instagram remains committed to providing a valuable and personalized experience for its users.

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