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Rumors are spreading of an update on Instagram that would remove the ability to view like counts on Instagram photos. A tester leaked screenshots of the new update in April, validating that the rumors are true. The tester posted the screenshots with a message that read: “As stated in the app: “We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get.” It was announced at the Facebook F8 Developers Conference that the removal of Instagram likes will be rolled out in Canada this summer for a small test-run. If the test run receives positive feedback, they will expand the update to more places, and possibly even more platforms of social media. The hope is to create a more authentic, but less competitive atmosphere on Instagram. Turning Instagram into less of a popularity contest will allow the app to be utilized in a healthy and constructive way, encouraging users to focus on the art of posting photography, content, and memories. Many are left with questions– what will the update entail? How will influencers profit without clear distinction in rank? Will the update last? Is this the future of social media? In this blog, we will attempt to answer the pressing questions you have about Instagram removing likes, and what it means for the app moving forward.
What Is the Purpose of Removing Instagram Likes?
Instagram says the reason for this update is to encourage users to concentrate on posting and interacting with the app. In the past, users have deleted photos that do not get “enough likes.” Scientists speculate the culture surrounding social media is toxic due to the over-obsession with likes and comparison to others. Studies have shown anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleep quality, and negative impact on body image are all influenced by social media. It is speculated that Instagram developers want your followers to focus on the content you share, rather than how many likes you get. Although the update removes the ability for your followers to see the number of likes you receive, the update allows the account owner to view their own likes. This will allow Instagram users to focus on the art of their photography– the original intent of the social media platform.
What Can We Expect the New Update to Look Like?
Although the number of likes you receive will not be displayed for your followers to see, it will still show a couple of names of users who have liked your photo, as it does now. However, the difference is that it will not show the exact number of people who liked the photo publically. Despite the removal of likes, there are more features to come! These upcoming updates will include new stickers in direct messages, filters for direct video calls, karaoke-style lyrics in Instagram stories, and emoji reactions in-feed posts.
How Will Removing Likes on Instagram Affect My Mental Health?
Psychological drawbacks of social media use include increased anxiety, social isolation, depression, loneliness, sleep quality, and negative body image. In recent years, parents and consumers have expressed concern about the mental health implications of social media use, advocating for a healthier use of social media. Although removing Instagram likes may eliminate the competitive aspect of Instagram, will it solve the social isolation? Social scientists fear that young people may still feel left out when they see pictures of friends are at social events without them. However, removing Instagram likes may still be a step in the right direction.
Could This Impact Influencer Marketing?
Influencers have expressed concern about the new update, as their feed rank plays a large role in their career as influencers and income. Although there are no plans to hide follower counts on profiles, influencers hope developers update the algorithm to redirect the inability to view likes and find a new way to curate content feeds based on the success of a post. For instance, engagement through comments, views on a posted video, etc.
Will the Update Last?
Although the update will be enforced in Canada, it is not certain they will begin to test the removal of likes in other places. If all goes well in Canada, and they see a positive increase in interaction and user engagement, it is likely the removal of likes will be applied in more places. Some speculate that if this test run in Canada is successful, not only may the removal of likes be enforced on Instagram platforms everywhere, but also on other platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc.
What Do Instagram Users Think of the New Update?
Instagram has received backlash after the news of the new update broke. Although there are users who have expressed how pleased they are with Instagram for being a catalyst for change through minimizing the toxic nature of social media, there are still users who disapprove of the removal of likes. In response to the negative commentary online, Instagram released a statement stating that they are “exploring ways to reduce pressure on Instagram.”
What Is the Vision for the “New and Improved” Instagram App?
Instagram hopes that by removing likes, they can reduce the negative effects of social media, lessen the obsession over likes, and eliminate the competitive aspect of Instagram. The update will encourage authenticity and a healthier community.