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

Trump tightens screws on ByteDance to sell Tiktok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump added more pressure Friday night on China-based TikTok parent ByteDance to exit the U.S., ordering it to divest all assets related to the U.S. operation of TikTok within 90 days.

Between the lines: The order means ByteDance must be wholly disentangled from TikTok in the U.S. by November. Trump had previously ordered TikTok banned if ByteDance hadn't struck a deal within 45 days. The new order likely means ByteDance has just another 45 days after that to fully close the deal, one White House source told Axios.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 21,056,850 — Total deaths: 762,293— Total recoveries: 13,100,902Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m ET: 5,306,215 — Total deaths: 168,334 — Total recoveries: 1,796,309 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: CDC: Survivors of COVID-19 have up to three months of immunity Fauci believes normalcy will return by "the end of 2021" with vaccine — The pandemic's toll on mental health — FDA releases first-ever list of medical supplies in shortage.
  4. States: California passes 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.
  5. Cities: Coronavirus pandemic dims NYC's annual 9/11 Tribute in Light.
  6. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  7. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.

Harris: "Women are going to be a priority" in Biden administration

Sen. Kamala Harris at an event in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In her first sit-down interview since being named Joe Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris talked about what she'll do to fight for women if elected VP, and how the Democrats are thinking about voter turnout strategies ahead of November.

What they're saying: "In a Biden-Harris administration women are going to be a priority, understanding that women have many priorities and all of them must be acknowledged," Harris told The 19th*'s Errin Haines-Whack.