Instagram removing the no. of likes: The effects
If you have an Instagram account, by now you must have got acquainted with a big change done by Instagram in recent times – hiding the number of likes. At first, it was tested in seven countries, which were New Zealand, Brazil, Australia, Ireland, Canada, Japan, and Italy. But not it has been rolled out worldwide.
Many people have voiced their opinion on this big move by the Facebook-owned company. The change has been such that you will be able to see the likes on your photos, but not on the photos of others. Instead of the exact number, you will see a name and “and others” on others profiles. So what do you think will be the reasons and the effects of this big move?
Mental health connection
Humans seek validation; we all have this inherent quality hardwired in us since time immemorial. Social media has become a powerful medium to fulfill those cravings of ours. We post on our accounts, esp. photos and people hit a like button on those. We so much like the visual and social rewards of social media, the likes become a motivational factor.
But with all this, come social addiction, anxiety, and pressure which is not at all good for our mental health. We frequently check our profile and get a psychological high whenever we see a new like notification and that triggers the reward cycle of our brain.
Taking away likes will be beneficial for us, and one e.g. of that will be you won’t compare your number of likes to that of any other influential person or your friend. You also will not feel any obligation for your new post to match the likes count of previous posts. You will gradually realize that posting on Instagram is more about individual expression rather than pseudo popularity or social comparison.
Perhaps, the biggest effect of hiding Instagram likes has been on the influencers who make a living out of it. Till now they used the likes as a way to attract advertisers. Brands used to select the influencers based on their engagement rate, their likes to followers ratio. But now the industry will need to find a new metric to determine the valuable influencers.
Surprisingly, a majority of influencers welcomed this move as they didn’t notice any change in the number of likes they got on their posts before and after. Although, some of them expressed concerns that hiding likes will give them less leverage over sponsored content and brand deals.
Businesses will have to redirect their attention to other areas of a profile like the comments section, views, shares, reposts, saves, etc. If you really look at it, likes will relate to only interest, but more involvement and brand engagement will be shown by the other areas of the profile.
The idea of Instagram to hide likes was to reduce anxiety, depressurize people and minimize the social comparisons amongst them, said Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri. He also said they will not hesitate to take decisions that will hurt business so long as those decisions are benefiting people’s health and well-being.