Instagram has proposed a new idea that would hide the number of a user’s likes from public viewing. While this initiative hasn’t been set in place in the United States yet, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri tweeted on Nov. 8 that the feature will be tested in some parts of the US in the following weeks.
Instagram has already been testing the idea of making likes private in multiple countries since earlier this year. They have received a variety of feedback, with some users appreciating the new “no like” approach, but other users have not been as thrilled about it.
Some users have expressed their disappointment with the new policy, especially those who have amassed a heavy following over the years since the creation of Instagram. Celebrities such as Nicki Minaj have publicly conveyed their concern, with Minaj stating that if the initiative takes place, she will stop using the app. Rapper Cardi B shared her opinion on the plan, stating that the removal of likes won’t make the social media app any less “toxic.”
However, other well-known celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian West, have shared their full support of Instagram’s decision. During a conference with The New York Times, Kardashian-West discussed how the removal of likes could be beneficial for the mental health of the app’s users. Actor Keith Powers tweeted in support for the plan, stating that he “loves” the idea and believes it will allow for self-expression and creativity.
Many Instagram influencers, many of whom make their profit by selling sponsored content on their popular accounts, have discussed how Instagram’s plan could negatively affect their profit, as they make a career out of the amount of likes and engagement they get on their posts.
After reading the news releases and discussing the like sharing plan with my friends, I have mixed views on it. At first, I believed the initiative was a great idea, and I still do believe that it could have some positive impacts, such as more creative posts that focuses on the actual content rather than the engagement it receives. However, I don’t believe it will make a difference in the self-image problems many users have.
Someone who gets less likes on a post than their friends and followers may feel like they aren’t good enough, and this has been a prevalent issue with many users, so much that some have gone as far as spending money on followers and likes, an extreme measure that obviously represents a problem with our society.
An issue that has been heavily discussed in many debates about social media and mental health is the idea of validation from the amount of likes one receives. Someone who posts a picture and doesn’t receive a “good” number of likes may believe they aren’t good enough, a warped ideology that unfortunately affects many people. So, the removal of likes may ease the minds of those who are worried about like count.
Hiding the number of likes may only have beneficial effects on some users who have problems with self-esteem and self-image for a small amount of time. Think about it, follower count and comments can also affect how one sees themselves, so should those features be taken away also?
Like Cardi B said, the number of likes being removed from view won’t stop negativity on the app. Cardi B pointed out that comments are still enabled and allow for bullying, harassment, etc. I believe that she makes a good point here. Bullying on social media platforms is still a huge problem in our society, and like count doesn’t make any difference.
Whatever, your viewpoint is on Instagram’s plan, it is important to remember that this is only a test trial to see what feedback it’ll receive, and that this feature isn’t permanent yet. While removing likes may be viewed as a good idea that allows for more self-expression, self-image issues related to social media engagement will still persist.