Can you imagine posting an image on Instagram without seeing how much likes your post has raked? For many users, that may sound horrible. Likes, in any social media platform, are deemed a good measure of value. They are even good translated to cash for some. Well, believe it or not, Instagram is about to hide public likes.
In a report from The Verge, Instagram will begin testing this new function in Canada within the week. This doesn’t prevent users from liking the photos of people they follow, but it will only hide the number of likes a post has garnered when they zap through their feed. Users will still be able to see how many likes they’ve received as well.
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But why is Instagram even doing this?
Instagram head Adam Mosseri says they want to turn the social media site’s focus back to photography. It is not a secret that certain insecurities concerning body image, success, and other things are attributed to social media sites like Instagram, especially with the idea of likes as a measure of approval.
“We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about,” Adam tells the Washington Post. “We don’t want Instagram to feel like a competition, we want to make it a less pressurized environment.”
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Instagram has been getting flak for inducing anxiety to its users. In 2017, a survey suggested that Instagram is the worst social media site for mental health. It was linked with anxiety, depression, bullying, and even FOMO, or the fear of missing out. That’s because posts with unrealistic standards are prevalent on the platform.
Still though, hiding likes from public isn’t the best solution to preventing those unrealistic standards from prevailing on the site. If anything, it’s probably a good sign that the site still cares for the wellbeing of its users.
So, what will happen in a future where we can’t see likes publicly? Well, life will go on as usual.
Art by Edward Joson