Instagram is Starting to Hide Likes

You may have noticed on your own account: Instagram is starting to hide the amount of likes people get. Controversy around this decision has grown larger since the social media platform first announced they were considering the change months ago. Now, the disappearance of the "like count" seems inevitable.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, first began testing the removal of the like count in some foreign countries like Australia and Brazil in April. Some users in the United States noticed the like count was taken away from posts in the last couple of weeks, but this is still only testing and has not been fully implemented.

The platform is trying to create a “less pressurized environment,” according to Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri. “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.”

For users, this will mean seeing "liked by [one account] and others." This is the same format as what is currently on Instagram, but the number is taken out. Users will still be able to tap to see who else liked the post. Users will also be able to see how many likes their own post got if they choose to. Follower counts will remain unchanged.

The controversy is mainly between those who agree with Mosseri and influencers whose occupation depends on being able to measure audience engagement and interaction. 

Nicki Minaj tweeted she would stop using Instagram when they remove likes. Smaller influencers are also worried about their future with the platform. “Instagram removing likes may be terrible for emerging artists online,” said artist Peter DeLuce. “Likes are a good metric to prove your art is high quality – that there is a validation of your ideas and content.”

Some celebrities endorse the decision though, like Kim Kardashian, who supports the change to better mental health globally.

AU students are divided on the issue as well. In a poll of 60 students, 52% said they did not support the Instagram like ban. The majority are against the changes, but not by enough to stop the inevitable switch. Overall, students are either on the side of wanting to be able to track engagement with their followers or wanting to make Instagram a healthier environment.

A US poll of 500 people showed that 25% of respondents are against the change while 20% support it.  About half of people surveyed were unopinionated on the change.

Other social media apps like Snapchat and VSCO lack a "like" feature or count, but they are both still relatively popular. Instagram may become more like those in its likeless future. YouTube and Twitter still have a like feature. Most curiously, Facebook will keep its like feature and count despite being part of the same business as Instagram.

If your Instagram account recently had the like counts removed from the posts you see, you may already be used to this change. To those that have not yet seen the change, be prepared to soon see a much different environment on Instagram. It is not yet known when the change will be fully implemented.


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