Instagram Is Officially Hiding Likes. Now what?
In order to relieve some of the social pressure linked to accumulating ‘likes’ on a post, Facebook, which is Instagram’s parent company, is performing a test in Canada to determine if there are any benefits to hiding how many likes a post actually receives. However, even with this feature, account owners will have access to the exact number of likes their content received: They will just have to go to another page that only he or she can see.
Instagram Announces Hiding Likes Feature at F8 Conference
At Facebook’s 2019 F8 developer conference on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, the company announced that they are experimenting with a feature designed to remove the publicly-viewable exact number of like counts from posts in Instagram profiles, feeds and permalinks.
Why Are They Hiding Some of the Publicly Viewable Likes?
While how many likes a video or photo receives on Instagram may seem a fairly minor issue, it is one that has become a symbol of the social pressures that frequently surround apps like Instagram. Although these social pressures typically do not affect businesses, younger Instagram users may feel pressured to accumulate a certain number of likes. And sometimes, if a post does not receive an adequate number of likes, they will delete it.
Furthermore, in recent years, the psychological problems associated with social media use has garnered a lot of attention. Consumer advocates, tech companies and parents have been voicing concerns over the potential for these apps to lead to social isolation and anxiety.
What Instagram Would Like to See
Adam Mosseri, who is the Head of Instagram, said that Instagram wants users to spend more time connecting with the people they care about and worry less about how many likes their posts are receiving on Instagram. In addition, they are doing this in part because technologists do not want engagement metrics to be the most important aspect for an individual as he or she uses these popular social media platforms. Instead, technologists encourage users to spend more time on Instagram and their other social media platforms maintaining a response loop of notifications and working towards improving their social validation.
How Will this Feature Work?
Jane Manchun Wong is a technology blogger and app researcher who is known for uncovering upcoming features for popular apps, like Facebook and Instagram, before they launch. She accomplishes this through the use of reverse-engineering. Wong uncovered this ‘hiding likes’ feature through Instagram’s Android app. Screenshots show that the typical numerical like count has been replaced with ‘a few users and others’ have liked a specific post.
With this feature, Instagram posts will appear the same; however, people who are scrolling through will not see the number of ‘likes’ a particular picture or video has received. Although the exact number of likes is not displayed, users can still see who liked a particular post.
Who Will This Feature Benefit?
While this feature may be beneficial to individuals who use their Instagram accounts solely for personal reasons, removing these counts may be unpopular among influencers and businesses who rely on these public-facing metrics to display follower engagement.
Currently, the test for this new feature has only been implemented in Canada; however, Facebook deciding to announce this potential feature during their F8 conference implies that the company is seriously considering adding it; however, it is unclear whether the company plans on making this Instagram feature a standard part of a user’s account or one that could be opted into.