When we first heard that Instagram might be hiding how many likes we get, we were freaking out. Now that we’re armed with the facts, it doesn’t seem like such a crazy idea.
First thing’s first – don’t panic. Instagram isn’t about to delete every like your friends have ever given you. (Pha-ewh!)
The social media giant will test hiding like counts from photos, and view counts from videos. The move is in an effort to get you thinking about what you’re posting instead of what engagement you’ll get.
The test will take place at Facebook’s annual developers conference, F8, in Canada later this week.
During the test followers won’t be able to see the love they’ve given photos or how many times a video has been viewed both on their Instagram feed or when visiting a user’s profile.
The users themselves will still be able to see how many likes or views they are getting, but only by clicking through their posts.
There’s no word yet on when the new feature will be rolled out across the app, but Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri told BuzzFeed News that he hopes to learn how effective it is from the trial.
The move is an effort to improve the relationship between social media and mental health.
Social media critics have continually pointed to the idea that metrics like ‘likes’ on Instagram lead users to use their level of engagement as a measure of self-worth. Whether you’re hoping to hit a certain number of likes on a selfie or a certain person didn’t view your story, we’ve all been guilty of this.
Instead of chasing likes, removing them would allow users to think about the content they are creating with more depth. Basically, you would be posting what you want to 100 per cent of the time, not what you think your followers want to see.
The inspiration for the new trial partly came from Instagram stories. After you post a story you are able to see who has viewed it, but your followers can’t. As well as diminishing any popularity contest, this protects your privacy, too.
This all sounds pretty good, right? Maybe not for everyone.
For the average Insta-user hiding likes from followers would probably have a positive impact in terms of mental health and self-esteem. For people who depend on their profile for their career, it isn’t as simple.
Removing photo likes and video views from influencers’ profiles could affect the way companies and sponsors work. Without viewing likes there is no way for them to see how much engagement a post is getting which could put people’s careers at risk.
This poses the question: Should we value others’ careers over our own mental health?