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The Instagram app is seen in the App Store on an iPhone. Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Instagram head Adam Mosseri took to Twitter Thursday to reassure users alarmed by an unannounced change in the apps' interface that the shift from a vertical scroll to a horizontal swipe was just a test that accidentally rolled out widely.

Why it matters: There have been reports that Instagram has been testing the new design for months, presumably to foster deeper user engagement with content and less "mindless scrolling" between posts.

What they're saying: "This was supposed to be a very small test but we went broader than we anticipated...Should already be rolled back," Mosseri said on Twitter.

The big picture: Mindless scrolling between posts was a big problem for Instagram's parent company Facebook, and was something executives told investors repeatedly that they wanted to fix.

  • To do so, Facebook changed the type of content it would algorithmically surface in the feed to include fewer posts from brands and media companies, and more from friends and family.
  • Instagram seems to be trying a different approach: Swiping requires a more deliberate thumb gesture than scrolling.

Between the lines: Some users complained about the adjustment on social media, arguing that it made the functionality difficult to understand and that the "swipe" function between posts was not preferable to scrolling.

Yes, but: Users frequently complain about app redesigns at first before they adjust to changes. There was an uproar in 2015 when Instagram updated the app so that posts were no longer chronological, but rather algorithmically surfaced in the feed.

Be smart: With most redesigns, users do eventually come around. But we've seen with Snapchat's redesign earlier this year how that effort can go very wrong, and alienate users who feel that the changes go too far.

Go deeper

Updated 8 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

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