Imagine you are scrolling through your Instagram feed and you come across your best friends’ vacation photo, a stunning location that sparks your travel plans, or a color food shot that seems out of this world. What if we could no longer “like” that photo, or many other photos?
Luckily we are not in that Twilight Zone, and this is not the case for Instagram users. At least not yet.
But Instagram has definitely been experimenting with the idea of taking “likes” out of our likes.
Earlier this year Instagram had a test run for users in Canada and eliminated the option to see the number of likes a post would receive, even though we were still able to “like” the photo itself. In recent months, the social media giant has rolled out this same initiative in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brazil, Ireland and Italy.
One might ask: what’s the deal with “likes” anyway? Well, Instagram’s reasoning for this update is that it prevents users from seeing how many ‘likes’ a post has as many studies link social media usage to mental health conditions. “We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get,” an Instagram spokesperson said. Many studies have linked social media likes, invoke the same feeling that someone might feel when gambling on a slot machine.
Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri said this is being done to “worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re [users] getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about”. Influencers think the removal of ‘likes’ won’t make much difference to their businesses as the focus will now shift towards comments, which have become more valuable for them.
As of now, here in the States the like button will remain but it is safe to say that it’s only a matter of time before Instagram decides to dis-like that feature in the U.S.
Interested in getting more of The Point? Sign up and stay in the loop.