You’ve probably heard that Instagram is removing likes. It’s already been implemented in a few countries including the US and Australia.
The feature is still being tested so your likes may come and go but don’t be surprised if you open Instagram soon to find that you can’t see anybody’s likes anymore.
The main reason this is happening is to see if it affects the user’s mental health and well-being. Instagram is supposed to be a social place of creativity and community. However, in recent years, the environment has become toxic in some communities and negatively affected a lot of people’s mental health.
Hiding likes will hopefully take the pressure off people as they try and increase their engagement. It will also stop people from comparing themselves to other people.
With hidden likes, the only likes you’ll be able to see are your own.
Why Did Instagram Remove Likes?
The main reason that Instagram removed likes is to shift the focus from how many likes people get. Instead, Instagram wants people to focus on their friend’s and family’s posts without worrying about the pressure of competing.
With less pressure to impress, hopefully, the focus will be on what to create rather than how to get the best reach. In fact, a lot of people like the new addition to Instagram!
Many people criticize Instagram for its link to young people’s mental health. While they have done quite a few things to make their platform more stable, removing likes is definitely one of the big ones!
Instagram’s main mission when it started was to be a platform for self expression and creativity. There aren’t many other platforms where you can find a whole community that enjoys talking about such specific things as indoor plants. There is a place on Instagram for absolutely everyone no matter how niche your interests are!
Instagram is definitely trying to get back to their original mission statement.
“We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love,” said a Facebook director Mia Garlick.
Instagram has been critiqued for becoming a place of fake-ness. People post staged images in seek for likes. For many people, they think that Instagram has become a place of fantasy. In fact, there have been studies that show that many young people will spend over $10,000 just to make their home or bedroom “Instagram worthy”. Instagram is highly linked to depression and anxiety, hence the removal of likes.
Pros Of Removing Instagram Likes
While there are many critiques (we’ll get to that later), there is a lot of positive to getting rid of likes on Instagram.
Right now, for brands, influencers and general Instagrammers, the pressure to post is extremely high. Especially with the algorithm favoring those who post most frequently. The pressure can be overwhelming at times.
Removing Instagram likes takes away the competitive side that exists within many Instagram communities.
It gets back to the main ethos of Instagram when it started which was about sharing topics people are passionate about.
People will hopefully go back to posting for fun, rather than to get likes.
There are studies that show this Instagram upgrade of removing likes will actually be beneficial for mental health. Of course, that is the most important thing above all.
Get Ready For More Experiments
Other users have said that without the pressure of getting likes, they are more likely to experiment with their photography. With likes, everyone else can see how well your photo is performing. By removing that information, people are more likely to like a photo only if they actually like it. Nobody else will influence their opinion.
Marvin Brooks, a former Love Island contestant, commended the upgrade. He explained that Instagram should be about sharing all aspects of life: the good, the bad, the ugly. With Instagram likes, Instagram easily has become a place where people only show the greatest sides of their life.
There is also hope that it will encourage more brands to choose influencers based on their photos rather than how many likes they get. For example, when a brand looks at your page, they will most likely look at how good your engagement is. Therefore, they’re probably not that interested in your photos, but how well you can perform for their brand. While it’s important that they get a return on their investment, it’s also important that brands partner with influencers they truly believe in. They will now only be able to choose influencers based on their talents.
It will stop advertisers from looking at metrics as the main thing in a campaign.
The whole idea is that Instagram removing likes will encourage people to post what they truly want. If someone has used their Instagram for modeling, yet they want to start posting musical videos, the idea of not getting likes can definitely scare them off. By removing the likes, people will be more confident in posting musical videos because no one else will know if the post is performing well or poorly.
Cons Of Removing Instagram Likes
Of course, with every Instagram update comes complaints. In fact, the ones that come along with this upgrade are pretty valid.
First, likes are dropping. If likes drop, reach drops. If reach drops, it’s going to be hard to get new followers meaning growing your Instagram is going to be even harder than ever!
A study by HypeAuditor found that influencers with between 5,000 and 20,000 followers lost up to 15% of their likes after the new update rolled out. If you know that likes aren’t relevant, you might be less likely to click the like button on photos that you see on Instagram. Therefore, fewer people will like the photo, meaning the algorithm will not favor the photo.
You Still See Your Likes
The other big drawback is that you can still see your likes. If you’re used to getting 1000 likes but now you suddenly have 500, this might still also affect your mental health. Specifically, if you’re a business trying to sell a product. With the removal of likes, your product is now only reaching a percentage of your usual customers.
In the replacement of likes, people are still trying to encourage engagement with their posts. They will encourage their followers to comment on their photos instead. So instead of likes being used to compare yourself to others or brag about your account, comments will be the next big thing.
Instagram recently implemented a tool that does its best to filter out negative comments on someone’s photo. However, a lot of people think that should take priority over removing likes. At the end of the day, Instagram is a place for people to show off and score up numbers and likes. Even with the removal of public likes, that is unlikely to change since you can still see your likes. Instead of removing likes, a lot of users think that Instagram should focus on removing more toxic and bullying users. In fact, spam users are still a massive issue so therefore, that should be a priority, too.
Is Removing Instagram Likes All About Money?
Without public likes, it’s likely that brands will ask influencers for their insights directly before signing up to working with them. Influencers could lie about their numbers, or brands could cherry-pick who they work with based on these insights.
There are rumors that Instagram will create its own influencing agency within its app to pair brands and Instagrammers together. However, Instagram will now get a cut of this price. Therefore, this whole thing seems to be about cash. If it’s all a ploy to launch their new influencer platform, then it’s all quite unfair.
If you think of it this way, it doesn’t seem that Instagram cares about mental health but instead, money.
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