Instagram Tests Out Removing Likes

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On the social media platform Instagram, the success of an account has been able to be defined quantitatively through the number of likes, followers, and comments the account gets. However, Instagram is introducing a new feature that may move the platform away from this. According to Business Insider, Instagram is testing out removing the display of how many likes a post gets. Likes will be visible to each user who posts a picture but not to others who see the post. Likes will only disappear for certain users at first, in order to test out the feature. 

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri discussed that the goal of this change is to try to “depressurize” the social media site for young people. Instead of focusing on the number of likes a post gets, Mosseri emphasizes how they want to shift the focus to users connecting with other users. 

Many frequent users are in favor of the change, while others are against it. Some say that the change will help people to focus on posting quality content, rather than chasing likes. Others argue that this feature may be discouraging and harmful to businesses, as they rely on numbers and stats to increase reputability and outreach of posts. Kaitlyn Dunn, a senior at BBCHS and regular Instagram user gave her opinion on the removing of likes, “I think that it’s a good thing. Without likes, people aren’t pressured to get a certain amount of likes and won’t compare themselves to other people.”

It’s unclear if this change will be permanent for the platform. It has the potential to put more emphasis on user engagement with posts through comments and direct messages, rather than users simply double-tapping a post to show that they liked it. The change has the potential to benefit people’s mental health. It may help people to stop comparing the number of likes they get to the stats of someone else’s post. It may contribute to decreasing the pressure social media and the feelings of self-worth users often tie in to how many people ‘approve’ of their post. 

Some skeptics believe the goal of this change is monetary gain for Instagram, rather than the well-being of their users. Instagram influencers are people who collaborate with the business to do sponsored posts to advertise for the businesses. This is a huge market, but Instagram does not get any of the cut from these deals. Some believe the goal of removing likes is to allow Instagram to profit from connecting businesses with popular accounts that many people engage with, since these businesses will no longer be able to see likes to determine which brands are best to work with, themselves. 

No matter the goal of the change, it is certain that if it becomes permanent, it will significantly change the way all users interact with posts on the platform.