It is now famed news that Instagram will be removing “likes,” so that users who post content can see the number of likes that they’ve obtained, but not their followers or the rest of the public.
Adam Mosseri, the head of the Instagram application, confirmed to Buzzfeed News that the aim of doing this was to create “a less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves.” Instagram has also stated that they decided on removing likes, “because [they] want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.” Whatever the reason, it seems as though everyone has varied opinions about the plan of action– even celebrities.
In order to gather some insight into how some people feel about this matter, I decided to ask how students at RHS feel about it. Some understood Instagram’s motive behind it, while others found it hard to grasp how this new development will actually help with fixing any of the app’s issues for its users.
For example, one student expressed her stance by stating that it makes sense that removing likes would cause people to secure their attention on the content that their followers, or the people they follow, have posted. She agreed that nowadays, people tend to base their popularity and success on Instagram on the number of likes they acquire.
On the contrary, another student revealed that she thinks other problems are worth paying attention to. To clarify, she brought up the problem with the comments people leave on other users’ content. They can either be uplifting, motivational, and favorable or completely the opposite, which can ultimately lead to increased negativity on the app. She specifically stated that, “Instagram should do a better job managing and watching over the comments on people’s posts.”
One celebrity that we all know, had a similar response to the situation. Cardi B stated on Instagram Live that she felt that the social media platform should center their attention on the comments instead of the likes. She explicitly declared, “…This is my opinion on it, right? So from the beginning of Instagram, we had likes. And I feel like, in the beginning of Instagram, everything was so fun…where I think it got a little nasty…was when people started to like the comments when they were allowed to like comments or reply back to somebody’s comments.”
Nicki Minaj also took the time to claim that Instagram is taking away likes for the sole purpose of constraining people to pay them for “sponsored” posts. Similarly to Cardi B, she launched an Instagram Live to express her perspective. She stated, “So basically no, Instagram is about to take everyone’s likes simply because they don’t want you to go off on the side, forming all sorts of business…They want you to have to pay them. If you pay them, then that’s why we have all these ‘sponsored’ Instagram posts…” Because of this contemplation, she also tweeted that she will not be using the application.
Other sources point out other reasons as to why hiding like counts wouldn’t be beneficial. For instance, some say Instagram will always be a competition even when likes are hidden as other features such as the number of followers and comments can also determine popularity. Also, anxiety and depression will not be reduced since the factors that play a part in them are self-esteem and body image. It is true that eliminating likes will cause people to focus more on the content, but some argue that the content is what’s causing low self-esteem and body image issues. Lastly, people who post will still be pressurized since they will still see the number of likes they have. Therefore, good content will still be the number one priority for users.
“Like” it or not, changes to Instagram are surely going to be a hot topic while the application makes this major shift in social interaction.