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Not seeing ads on Instagram? Here's why

Instagram being used on a smartphone.
(Image credit: ulyana_andreeva/Shutterstock)

The head of Instagram has admitted that there are some users who don’t see ads on their feed — and explained why. He also explained why there is no iPad version of the popular photo social network.

According to Chris Welch, Adam Mosseri — who is in charge of Instagram at Facebook after being the head of the latter’s news feed — answered some users questions over the weekend. One of them was “I don’t see ANY ads on my instagram. Not a single ad. Is this normal?”

(Image credit: Adam Mosseri)

Mosseri answered that this is totally normal. Apparently, a small group of users never see ads at all “to make sure we understand the effect of that.” Welch asks himself if you could imagine how that would be, answering “bliss.”

I was one of those users and, indeed, it was bliss. In fact, for a year or so I thought that it was a fluke because I have never heard of any other users without ads in their feeds. When the ads came, I thought they may have finally “fixed” it. Now it seems that some people are randomly selected to participate in this control group; a golden lottery of sorts. 

No iPadOS version in sight

Welch also reported on another one of Mosseri’s answers in that ”ask me anything” session. Asked about a potential iPad version of Instagram, he said that the company “would like to build an iPad app. But we only have so many people, and lots to do, and it hasn’t bubbled up as the next best thing to do yet.”

The explanation doesn’t really ring true. Having an iOS app codebase already in place, it wouldn’t take that much for a couple of developers to retool the user experience and have an iPad app running in no time. It’s not rocket science. And, as someone pointed out in that Twitter thread, even Windows got an app a long time ago (which recently was killed). Ignoring iPad users seem more an strategic political decision than anything else.

You can use Instagram on a browser, but some of the functionality of the mobile version is not present in the web client.