Instagram Removes “Likes” – How Does That Affect The Platform?

Published on December 10, 2019

There has been some controversy surrounding Instagram’s new effort to focus on users’ mental health. The need to paint a picture of perfection on social media is becoming more and more important to users, and Instagram wants to help stop that. But is that the company’s only motive?

No More Visible “Likes”

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced that the platform would begin hiding likes for U.S. users earlier this year. In November, he explained that the idea behind it was to “depressurize Instagram and make it less of a competition and give people more space to connect with people they love and inspire them.”

As reported in a recent Grit Daily article, the social media platform isn’t completely doing away with “like” counts. You will still be able to see how many “likes” your post gets, but you won’t be able to see how many “likes” other people’s posts receive.

However, online pressure to be perfect might not be the only reason Instagram is removing this feature. Three former Facebook employees told CNBC that the company believes removing the “like” count will increase the amount of posts on the platform due to people feeling less self-conscious about posting. The former employees wanted to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.

This theory makes sense. More posts equals more time spent on the app. When people spend more time on the app then they are able to see more ads. All of this means more money for Instagram. So it seems to be a win for both sides. Users’ spend less time worrying about what people think, and Instagram gets more traction. But it might be a different story for those who use instagram as a way to make money.

What Does This Mean For Social Media Influencers?

Over the past few years that has been a significant rise in the so-called social media influencer. Influencers use the platform as a source of income by advertising products. Therefore, these influencers live off of engagement, or “likes”on their posts, so we’ll have to see how they respond to Instagram’s new feature.

Mosseri maintained that the everyday users’ experience is what is most important to the company. “It means we’re going to put a 15-year-old kid’s interests before a public speaker’s interest,” he said. “When we look at the world of public content, we’re going to put people in that world before organizations and corporations.”

Digiday pointed out that advertisers will have to find new ways to obtain data on influencer’s posts. Hiding “likes” makes it really hard to see how people respond to ads.

“If Instagram removes likes from the feed, advertisers and agencies will be more reliant on building relationships with influencers to ensure access to the accurate data feed they need,” said James Silverstone, an account director at influencer creative agency the Projects.

The advertiser-influencer relationship is bound to change over the course of this Instagram modification. It will be interesting to see if the amount of sponsored content lessens now that “likes” are disappearing.

Ashli Ellerman is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. A graduate of University of Missouri's Columbia School of Journalism, she's a former editor at Vox. She covers music brands and breaking consumer news at Grit Daily.

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