Hope is a good thing. And while we swipe down our Instagram news feed, all we can do is hope! Hope to receive new notifications about likes, comments, and whatnot. In a sense, the app has got us hooked in such a way that we’ve all become Pavlov’s dog. All of us are hungry for likes. We get disappointed if the numbers are low whereas our happiness sees no bounds if the numbers are high.
However, all of this might change real soon. Instagram, according to reports, is testing out of removal of the public likes count in 7 countries including Australia, Japan, and Canada. This comes as a result of preliminary testing done in Canada last May. Users no will be able to see the like counts on other people’s posts. Though the account holders will still be able to view the likes in their own posts.
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
This move comes as a result of various reports linking mental health issues to social media pressure. Loneliness, social anxiety, low self-esteem and many more are reportedly the effect of social media pressure. The test was announced at the Facebook developers conference as a way to reduce pressure.
Likes on Instagram are the de facto indicators of a user’s posts value. The higher number of likes equals impressive content. However, it can seriously decrease a person’s self-esteem if their post receives less number of likes. Maybe this move from Instagram will finally help users from focusing more on what they want to post rather than those that are a sure-shot way to get more likes.
Obviously, the internet is divided about this issue. Many people labeled this as a positive move from the tech giants. The decision to remove public viewing of likes will probably eliminate the unhealthy competition that exists within users to garner a huge amount of likes.
The other half of the internet, however, called out this decision. The general complaint is that it is the end of Instagram influencers. Difficult for new ones to start out and existing ones to retain followers. Influencers argue that brands are much more concerned with the influencers’ engagement rates rather than their followers. Thus, it will seriously hamper their source of income.
We cannot be sure what the outcome of this move will be. For all we know, influencers might become more profitable. Or that the unhealthy competition will still exist but now behind the scene. We will have to wait and see. For now, the move is just in the testing phase so no major scare for us. Hopefully, whatever the result, it will be beneficial for the majority.