Instagram, the social media platform of choice for influencers, has started to hide ‘Likes’ count in selected countries as a part of an international experiment launched to ‘reduce social pressure’.
The experiment is live in seven countries – Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. The Likes count won’t be removed completely as users will be able to see the number of likes on their own posts, but not on other people’s pictures and stories.
We’re currently running a test that hides the total number of likes and video views for some people in the following countries:
✅ New Zealand pic.twitter.com/2OdzpIUBka
— Instagram (@instagram) July 17, 2019
‘Likes’ have been one of the most prominent measures of engagement on Instagram. However, the platform has recently faced harsh criticism for contributing to the problem of low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy among young people.
It is claimed that a high number of likes can boost self-esteem, but low or no likes can make people feel unpopular.
According to Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, the main aim of the test is to reduce this pressure, which is harmful to teens’ mental health. He also added that they wanted to make people spend more time connecting and less time worrying about the number of likes under their photos.
“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,” Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy, wrote in a statement.
Apart from self-esteem issues, the number of likes affect the business side of Instagram as influencers who get paid for the content they post in their news feed, justify their prices by the number of likes they get.
Naturally, influencers reacted negatively to the announcement, with many claiming this is a veiled attempt by Instagram to cut out the direct connection between advertisers and influencers as it wants to shift people towards advertising via its platform.
rip to “instagram influencers” with the new update of hiding likes ?
— julie (@julie_ui) July 18, 2019
However, according to a marketing blogger Charles Tumotto Jackson, influencers will pivot to Instagram Stories, where they can use the swipe-up feature to link to purchasing pages.