The social media giant is trialling the move to cultivate a healthier online space
Social media users, listen up – Instagram likes will disappear in parts of the US next week, in a move by the company to remove the element of ‘pressure’ and to stop it feeling ‘like a competition’.
This is not the first time the company has temporarily introduced the measure. Earlier this year Italy, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Japan and New Zealand were some of the countries to experience having their ‘likes’ hidden from posts – and the move received mixed reviews.
Concern over the removal of public engagement metrics that would be damaging for Instagram professionals like influencers (whose numbers are an important signal to potential customers or clients), was raised – while other users welcomed the change of reducing comparison to others.
With news about the US circulating, some Twitter users took to the platform to joke that influencers will now be ‘out of a job’ and ‘have to return to the real world’.
Rapper Nicki Minaj also had her say on the photo-sharing platform announcing plans to stop displaying the number of ‘likes’ on posts. She tweeted, ‘I’m not posting on IG after this week cuz they removing the likes. Hmmmm what should I get into now? Think of all the time I’ll have with my new life.’
Adam Mosseri, Instagram CEO, explained the decision by saying, ‘We’ve been testing making likes private on Instagram in a number of countries this year. We’re expanding those tests to include a small portion of people in the US next week. Looking forward to the feedback!’
He added to Bloomberg, ‘What we’re hoping to do is depressurise Instagram a little bit, and make it a bit less of a competition. The idea is to try and reduce anxiety and social comparisons, specifically with an eye towards young people.’
It’s clear the social media giant is attempting to make positive changes. Instagram has previously introduced an algorithm to censor offensive comments or pictures and it also launched a tool that lets users report fake news.
Last month it was was announced that Instagram face filters – that allow users to look as though they have undergone plastic surgery – were to be removed too.
When likes on Instagram are made private, this means that only users are able to see the number of likes their posts receive. When other users look at their posts, they are only able to see the name of one account that has liked a picture, in addition to ‘others’.
While chasing likes can most certainly lead to a hollow existence, and removing them could ease social pressure when it comes to popularity and likability – there’s still a long way to go when it comes to improving users’ wellbeing.