In a bid to remove the pressure that can be felt by users to be ‘popular’, Instagram has launched a trial to hide the number of likes on posts. Initially trialled in Canada, it is now being rolled out in these countries:
Previously, users have been able to see a running total of people who have liked a post. In these countries, users can still view the number of likes received on their own posts but when scrolling through the feed, Instagrammers can now see a user name “and others” rather than a number, so it looks like this ‘Liked by Looped Media and others’.
Why have Instagram thought to bring this change? Well, Instagram themselves say it’s “because [they] want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.” The idea being to relieve feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem particularly in young people. Generally the number of likes on a post is seen as a metric of success - more likes means more popularity or overall success, less likes is seen as a lack of popularity or success. Sadly, this success or failure can be a big part of life for some young or vulnerable people meaning a move away from it could be a good step.
We have yet to see this feature in the UK, but are all for changes being made for the good of everyone's mental health. As for what it means for those of us using Instagram for business… As we can still see and monitor the number of likes a post achieves, success can still be measured internally and used to inform our strategy. What it means for influencers remains to be seen - watch this space!
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