New Instagram Feature to Hide Likes from Some Users

Ready or not, a drastic change is coming to America’s favorite social media platform this coming week! Last Friday afternoon at the WIRED25 conference hosted in San Francisco, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced that the well-adorned app would soon be eradicating the ‘like’ count feature as a test of this feature in various countries across the globe - including the United States.

Courtesy: NPR

Though it comes as a surprise to the 104.7 million Instagram users within the country, this disappearing act is not an entirely new idea for the social media platform. In fact, Instagram as well as a host of other companies, including Facebook (which purchased Instagram for $1 billion in March of 2014), Twitter and YouTube, have been for the past year discussing the idea of moving away from the metric counting standard and slowly ushering into reality a deemphasis of counts such as ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’. This movement has become known as demetrication and has been widely attributed to artist and composer Benjamin Grosser who in 2012 developed a Google Chrome extension, which he coined the “demetricator.” This extension functions to rid social media users’ feeds of metric calculating features and was created as a social experiment to highlight the toxicity existent within these various social media platforms.

It is no secret that social networking platforms, such as Instagram, have been subject to studies showing an adverse effect on the mental well-being of young women and men throughout the country. For years now, this social networking application has been accused of inspiring many to set unrealistic expectations that give way to extreme insecurity and low self-esteem, as well as heightened anxiety and negative body image. Mosseri told Bloomberg that the decision to remove ‘likes’ from the platform is meant to “depressurize Instagram a little bit and make it a bit less of a competition.” The company hopes that this transition would work to promote a more positive user experience.

Courtesy: iMore

Instagram aficionados need not fret. Even with this new update in place, Instagram account holders will still be able to double-tap on images that make it to their feed. However, only the owner of the account will be able to view the total number of likes they have received on the post. Some have made the argument that this elimination of ‘likes’ will potentially harm the art of Instagram influencing and lead to the ultimate demise of the platform. Several celebrities have spoken out against the development -most notably, rappers Nicki Minaj and Cardi B who have both maintained that derogatory comments are more dire of an issue to address - while others have praised the platform for moving toward the change. Kim Kardashian West, when speaking at an event hosted by The New York Times last week, stated that she believes removing ‘likes’ would be “beneficial” to the mental well-being of the application’s users.

Instagram executives assert that the removal of ‘likes’ from the platform is only the first phase of their plan to provide a healthier environment for users. According to Mosseri, the social networking platform has been working closely with mental health professionals and software engineers to create a range of tools that would function to de-escalate bullying within the application and bring about a shift toward a more all-encompassing and amiable culture.

Want to see more HCFSU? Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest!