Instagram Hiding Likes: Could It Be A Good Thing?
ITP Live's Content Manager, Laura Kell, shares her thoughts on the testing of the removal of Likes on Instagram.
It’s incredible how a tiny little heart-shaped button can hold so much sway over someone’s happiness.
Throughout the past few weeks, I’ve had a number of influencers reach out to me regarding Instagram testing the removal of Likes on the platform. The majority were curious to know whether or not the rumors were true, with only one person expressing mild concern.
The test was first rolled out in Canada back in May 2019, and last week Instagram expanded it to include an additional six markets: Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand.
According to The Verge ". . . the feature hides users’ public like counts on videos and photos in the Feed, on the web, and within profiles. Instagram said at the time of the initial announcement that it wants followers to 'focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.' ”
Naturally, I expected to be flooded with anxious messages from content creators, especially as the "test" has expanded to include other international markets.
Likes play an important role in determining an influencer’s rate of engagement (a metric that measures how much an audience interacts and engages with their content). If you can’t accurately calculate a rate of engagement of an influencer's Instagram profile, they could be passed up for a sponsorship deal or branded campaign.
Therefore, an Instagram with hidden Likes could potentially result into a big pay cut for some content creators.
Oddly enough, no one seem too concerned about the experiment. I reached out to a few content creators, curious to know more about their thoughts on the matter.
The overall consensus? The hiding of Likes really isn’t a big of a deal. Many felt it could be a good thing for the greater Instagram community.
Many influencers feel pressured to delete photos or videos that don’t “perform well” on the platform, subconsciously censoring their own content to please their audience. The platform is very Like-centric with many of us judging whether or not content is worthy of our engagement, by the number of Likes a post has racked up.
Even watching the number of Likes go up on a post can be addictive.
Some social media sensations have run into big problems sharing inappropriate content with their audience (known as "borderline content" by Facebook), in their quest to push boundaries and rack up the Likes on their content. Hiding Likes could help to curb the urge to post controversial photos or videos for the sole purpose of increasing engagement.
And what about those influencers who are worried about the hiding of Likes affecting their relationships with brands (if there are any out there)? The simple solution would be to share regularly updated screenshots of your Like count with your influencer marketing agency, so they can keep clients informed and manage inbound queries from brands accordingly.
As for the average user, they wouldn’t be able to measure their worth by comparing themselves with others based on Like count.
At the end of the day, Instagram wasn’t created to be the high school cafeteria of the social media sphere. It’s a platform for people who want to cultivate a community by connecting over photos and videos.
While nobody likes change in the short-term, the hiding of Likes could make Instagram a better place for us all.
What are your thoughts on Instagram hiding Likes? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.