July 19, 2019


Social media giants Instagram have a taken a huge stride towards changing the social media game by announcing a testing phase where the number of likes on your posts will be hidden. This phase will kick-off in 7 countries, namely Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand. This move will surely bring respite on the users who are more concerned about the number of likes received on their post. Instagram’s new vision is users focusing on sharing images, videos and moments freely rather that looking at numbers.

The test was introduced in Canada earlier this year. Adam Mosseri, the CEO of Instagram, explained the reasoning behind this decision. “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”.

NO LIKES? THE FUTURE OF INSTAGRAM With almost all social media platforms, the primary way of communication is through, commenting on posts, sharing and liking posts. However in Instagrams’ case, studies show damaging effects on people who keep track of likes. A study carried out by Harvard University, shows that receiving notifications such as Instagram likes, sends a rush of dopamine to the brain. This rush of dopamine can be as addictive as gambling, and can often lead to anxieties from continuously checking social media. It is evident from such studies, that the younger generation see their social stance through likes and comments on their posts. Experts believe that by removing the need for validation it can improve their mental health. Celebrities such as Selena Gomez, have often publicly stated that they needed breaks from social media to help with their mental health. Although this trial seems positive, many have questioned how ‘Influencers’ will be affected by this change. ‘Influencers’ are known for their following and interactivity with their followers, often selling and promoting products from various brands. One could argue that if an audience cannot see the amount of engagement each post is getting, this could potentially harm the money-making aspect of an Instagram Influencer. Brands pay influencers with a high number of followers and likes to promote products, and it will be interesting to see how well a person can promote a service/product without seeing the likes.

However, an official statement from Instagram states “For businesses and creators on Instagram, this test will not affect measurement tools like Insights or Ads Manager.”

Following this update, Instagram has also set out new community guidelines to promote their anti-bullying campaigns. A tool called ‘Restrict’ allows account users to control who can interact with their profiles. Both of these changes are a huge milestone in Instagrams’ journey to providing a safe environment for all users. Although this is a trial, it will be interesting to see the results when removing post likes. Will it improve mental health and if so surely it will be implemented in other countries such as the UK and US? We guess time will tell.

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