Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri made an official announcement that it will start testing a feature that hides likes on the Instagram platform. The implication of this is that people will no longer be able to view the number of likes on a person’s photo. The number of likes will still be visible to the creator of the post, but others won’t be able to see it.
Has this been tested?
The test began in Canada and expanded to Ireland, Brazil, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Italy. Now, the test is coming to the US and probably the rest of the of the world; including Nigeria.
What has been the result in these countries?
In the countries where likes were hidden, users saw a message at the top of their Instagram feeds notifying them that they were part of the test. It is still unclear whether is will affect all users.
What is the reason for hiding likes?
Although the real intention here according to the Instagram CEO is to curb social anxiety, low self-esteem and mental health issues associated with likes, a lot of people are not buying it. In fact, some celebrities have come to air their views on the issue. Female Rap artiste Nicki Minaj believes that the whole scheme is an elaborate plot to enrich the pockets of instagram through paid ads.
Can I still like photos?
Yes. Photos can still be liked. However, others may not see your likes. The viewership of the likes is only limited to the user.
How can this affect online businesses?
Now, this brings us to where it could affect businesses. You see, many influencers all over the world rely on the likes on their page in order to attract new clients or keep the extant ones . This is because a lot of these client measure useful interaction through the number likes, followers and comments on a person’s page. If Instagram succeeds in removing the likes, then these entrepreneurs and businesses will have to pay for ads in order for their products or service to appear more credible.
This would undoubtedly affect many IG business men and women who rely on this type of engagement to boost sale of their product or service.
Another female rap artiste Cardi b, has also subtly gone against the new feature intended by the Instagram CEO. While speaking to her fans she said that the comment section is more toxic and must be looked at if Instagram is really concerned about protecting mental health.
However celebrities like Kim Kardashian seem to side the new feature stating that the removal would be very beneficial to the mental health of users.
Can it really fix mental health issues?
Looking at the facts and the reasons for the test, it doesnt look like it would change much. This is because users are still able to view the number of likes on their photos. Therefore, whatever mental issue trigger that likes have on a user may still persist.
The question now is…
Is putting people out of business too big a price to pay for the majority of mental health issues associated with likes? Some may argue that since these users can view their own likes, they may take screenshots to give to prospective clients. However, the efficiency and effectiveness of this is still in question. This move by IG might make people feel less insecure but may at the same time force businesses to look towards other social media platforms more conducive for their operations.
What do you think?