Yesterday it was revealed that Instagram might start hiding likes, after the testing prototype was leaked.
Instagram said it wanted ‘your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only the person who shares a post will see the total number of likes it gets.’
If the new design gets rolled out, it means only the poster will see the amount of likes his or her post gets, but followers will just see that the post was liked, but not how many times. It’s common practice to delete posts when they don’t immediately get enough likes, so this would put a stop to it.
The platform hopes that this will reduce herd mentality, and will prompt users to post more creative content. It’s also likely to reduce competition between users on Instagram, which has been proved to affect mental health.
But how will this affect influencers, who often secure paid posts based on the amount of likes they get, as well as engagement?
I spoke to a couple who are surprisingly positive about it. Alex Light, who currently has 41.6k followers, told me, ‘I actually think it will be a good way to shift the focus from likes to good content.’
‘Influencers get so laser-focused about the amount of likes that their post gets (because that’s the instant, visible marker of a post’s success) that they create their content according to what gets liked. If likes are scrapped, we can instead concentrate on creating better content that is meaningful to the individual, hopefully making Instagram a more ‘authentic’ place,’ she adds.
Brighton-based Hannah Crosskey (107k followers) agrees. ‘I wouldn’t mind either way if they do roll it out, as I think it’ll allow us to be more creative rather that shooting a certain way, with a certain filter just for engagement’.
Instagram confirmed it was testing ways to reduce pressure on its platform, but didn’t say whether this would definitely be rolled out. It would certainly be interesting to see the focus shift on authentic engagement, rather than likes which we know can be bought easily.