If you haven’t already heard, Instagram has been holding trials to hide the number of likes a person gets on a post from public view. This also applies to video content. The number of view counts will also be hidden from the public. However, you, will still be able to view how many likes you get… just privately. Likes, aka internet points, have been heavily weighted with how ‘credible’ an account is deemed to be. Instagram hiding likes will inevitably affect the way this platform will be used.
Now, the ultimate question is: Would the world be a better place if society paid less attention to the number of likes a post gets?
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After many months of rumours and speculation about Instagram hiding likes, the time has finally come. The photo-sharing platform has tested the privatisation of likes on posts in seven countries.
So, why are they doing this? Instagram has stated via Twitter that, “We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get. You can still see your own likes by tapping on the list of people who’ve liked it, but your friends will not be able to see how many likes your post has received.”
Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, has said, “We do hear people worry about how many like counts they get.” Hiding the likes on a post is designed to switch people’s attention from the numerical value and emphasise the actual content people share. Furthermore, Instagram hiding likes echoes a more serious issue that has been highlighted in today’s society. Impressionable teens are placing too much weight on likes to the point that it negatively affects mental health.
A user in Canada who was part of this trial has told Huffington Post that she has stopped comparing herself to bigger accounts. She claims to be liking content that she genuinely likes, versus what everyone else is liking. This is due to the trigger of the intimidating numerical values below the post.
Social media critics have argued that Instagram has led users to chase engagement as a measure of self-worth. They believe that it has become a platform to boost egos; pointing out that this change will be good.
If this feature gets implemented, influencers and brands will have to switch tactics. Instagram hiding likes will eventually dry up the economy for fradulent likes. Everyone would not place as much value on the number of likes when it comes to showing engagement. A higher like-count on posts help influencers grow audiences, therefore, with likes being hidden from view, it’s easy to see how users could eventually stop liking as much as they used to. Ultimately, this could harm audience growth and decrease engagement even further.
Without Instagram likes, it will be more difficult for brands to pick out influencers that seem credible. Influencers may have a high following but all in all, the proof is in the pudding through visible metrics.
A future without Instagram likes could mean that brands will need to work a little harder at creating a community within the platform.
Overall, Instagram at its worst may seem like a popularity contest. It can light the fire of people’s feelings of competitiveness as likes being in the forefront of measuring and quantifying how successful a post is. Many users will welcome the change and many will not. So, what do you think of Instagram hiding likes? Do you love it or hate it?
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