Would you feel less pressured, competitive or even stressed if Instagram didn’t tell us how many likes a post received? The platform, which is owned by Facebook, will test hiding the number of likes and views on photos and videos in an aim to make the experience a little ‘less pressurizing.’
During Facebook’s annual developer conference, F8, Instagram’s head, Adam Mosseri, said: “We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about”.
While social media platforms can have their benefits, the reliance on social media can have a detrimental effect on our mental health. The constant posting of perfectly filtered photos, endless vacations and glamorous lifestyles have managed to knock people’s self-esteem, and the psychological effects of this medium have gained more attention in the recent years, with more people pointing to its potential to increase anxiety and social isolation.
Although ‘like’ totals would still impact the algorithm ranks a post in the feed, if rolled out, the change would refocus Instagram on self-expression instead of being a popularity contest, which means, users might be less likely to delete a photo or video because it didn’t get enough ‘likes,’ i.e: “I look cute in this photo, might delete later, IDK”.
The testing of this new update will begin in Canada, and users will no longer be able to see the numbers of likes on posts by people they follow, however, the owner of the post will still be able to check who liked his/her posts alongside the total number of likes on posts.
But what does it mean for influencers who rely on their likes to get discovered for paid promotions, or have their sponsored content measured by public like counts? An Instagram spokesperson in an interview with TechCrunch clarified the issue at hand with a statement, saying: “We understand that this is important for many creators, and while this test is in exploratory stages, we are thinking through ways for them to communicate value to their brand partners”.
We are not certain whether removing likes on Instagram will actually help make people feel less intimidated or anxious, however, we are certain of one thing and that is we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be defined by the number of ‘likes’ on our posts and those of others.
What do you think of Instagram’s new update? Share your thoughts and let’s have a discussion.
Tune in to next week’s edition of #SocialSpeak for more social media related news. We’ve got you!