Instagram is looking into completely eliminating the number of “likes” on posts, following in Twitter’s footsteps in hopes to create a healthier digital environment.
Like Twitter, Instagram is simply dipping their feet in the water and testing this idea.
Facebook, Inc. reported that it will be testing in Canada, stating, “We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”
This change will allow users to still view the “likes” on their own posts but the numbers will be hidden from the public.
The “like” feature on Instagram is a popular part of the platform, so this new potential change comes as a huge shock to users. In fact, Instagram pulls in a total of 4.2 billion “likes” per day.
This potential change has already stirred up opposing opinions, with some people on board with the idea and others worried that it may cause issues.
Nex Gen Dynamics VP and social media influencer Troy Sandidge believes that this change could potentially lead to more trouble than it’s worth.
Sandidge sees this as a problem for Instagram users, saying that it could diminish “the feeling of camaraderie from liking a popular post tied to a social cause or a massive in-joke”.
On the other hand, social media expert Bree Palmer thinks that eliminating the presence of “likes” will actually boost the mental health of individual users.
“[There will be] no more ‘felt cute, might delete later’ after it doesn’t get enough likes,” says Palmer, referring to the popular meme that plays humorously on the rather serious detriments of social media and self-esteem.
Palmer believes that this change has the potential to turn social media into a much healthier and more positive place. “We may start to realize we are worth more than our vanity metrics,” she says.
This change can also affect the way brands use social media, because many brands rely on “likes” as part of their social media success on Instagram.
“Likes” on Instagram can help users determine the quality of their content and if your audience is connecting with it or not. Engagment can then be measured by converting the number of “likes” and comments to a percentage.
Sandidge says that it can be detrimental to brands who are “measuring ROI for social campaigns, or seeing if copy to hashtag to quality of media attached ratio is working or not to invoke a genuine CTA.”
However, Palmer thinks this is a good thing for brands because it will allow them to work harder get more genuine results, stating, “They’ll have to find real data and have to show real stats to get brand deals. No more buying vanity metrics.”
Nex Gen Dynamics Digital Marketing Strategist Michael Lovelle is on the same page with the push for the importance of genuine engagement.
“Accounts get too many ‘likes’ from spammers and fake accounts, that from an analytics standpoint, can give false and inaccurate information,” says Lovelle.
While there’s no telling whether Instagram will permanently go through with this change or even test it out in the United States, Palmer believes that people should and will adapt.
“Anyone saying this is the death of Instagram is clearly not really paying attention. I’ve seen so much whining about this and the new Facebook plans, tough luck, you’re playing on a free platform. You are going to have to adapt or find a new platform.”