What better way to self-inflict public humiliation than by posting an Instagram selfie that receives a lackluster number of likes? Unless you're Kylie Jenner, we've all been there. But now, the social media platform says no more.
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced that public engagement metrics, or the ability to see how many and who liked an Instagram post, will be removed for U.S. users starting this week. Users will still see how many likes their own posts receive, but they will no longer be able to see the engagement on other users' posts. Keep reading to see how Instagram may change for you.
How will Instagram likes change?
CNN Business explains, "When someone you follow has liked someone else's photo, it will say '[name of Instagram account] and others' under the post where likes would typically appear. Users can then click to see a list of the accounts who have liked the post, although they won't be able to see a number highlighting how many people have liked it."
The policy, which has already been implemented in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand, follows on the heels of Instagram removing its Following activity tab.
Why is the app removing the ability to see a post's likes?
Speaking to WIRED, Mosseri explains the decision to remove the ability to see the likes count. "It's about young people," he said. "The idea is to try and depressurize Instagram, make it less of a competition, give people more space to focus on connecting with people that they love, things that inspire them."
WATCH: Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announces that the platform will start hiding likes for US audiences starting next week. It's the latest step in Instagram’s quest to become the safest place on the internet. https://t.co/BGkMG57rdk #WIRED25 pic.twitter.com/WNTyAPVhaD— WIRED (@WIRED) November 9, 2019
The incentive of gaining a like motivates users to post more and more "radical" content, resulting in a polarized digital dystopia, WIRED previously reported. Removing the ability to see how many likes a post gets is therefore brandished to be a top-down effort to mitigate that kind of unhealthy online experience.
How are users reacting?
The policy hasn't gone unscathed by critics. Some argue that removing public engagement metrics will mean less engagement for both businesses and influencers. Others have suggested that the decision is profit motivated, in which a "like-count-free" world will increasingly influence companies to scramble for an audience by buying ads directly off Instagram.
Facebook, the company that owns Instagram, describes the update as a "fundamental change.
"While the feedback from early testing has been positive, this is a fundamental change to Instagram, and so we’re continuing our test to learn more from our global community," a spokesperson tells BAZAAR.com. "We understand that like counts are important for many creators, and we are actively thinking through ways for creators to communicate value to their partners.”
instagram is taking like counts away so that brands and companies stop paying people directly for their audiences and instead buy ads on Instagram itself. everything they do is to drive ad revenue. they are Facebook, after all.— hollis fka wongweezy (@holliswongwear) November 9, 2019
Why do i feel like this is a cynical push to control what is trending on the platform so they can decide who gets promoted and they make more advert money 😭 maybe im jaded— canab 💫 (@honeybahjah) November 9, 2019
Whatever the case, it's safe to say we should start finding other ways of publicly validating ourselves that aren't through our likes count. Like, maybe I should get a hobby that isn't aimlessly scrolling through my phone for eight hours a day.
Stop worrying about Instagram likes and worry about if people even like YOU sksksks— Ira Madison III (@ira) November 9, 2019
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