Instagram Might Be Getting Rid Of Their Public Like Count Sometime Soon
Some of us like to act like we don’t care about Instagram likes–and some of us actually, really don’t care. But others have built entire careers off the number of likes they can pull in per picture, so there’s definitely something important about the number under that little heart icon on all of our pictures.
While the number of people who double tap certain photos seems pretty arbitrary, a lot of people are starting to think more and more that the attention we pay to social media can be harmful to our self-esteem, mental health, and other factors in our real life.
That’s why Instagram could be getting rid of this feature for good.
Instagram is expanding its test of a feature that hides their public “like” counts. The test began in Canada in back in April, and, starting on Wednesday, the test expanded to Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand.
At this point, this is still just an experiment, and Instagram hasn’t said whether or not the feature will come to the US–but this gradual implementation into different areas could be the platform’s way of introducing a really big change.
As for the tests going down in these 7 countries, Instagram users can opt out of the test, but it’s on by default. “Likes” aren’t shown in any public part of the app, including on public-facing grids or on the main feed, but the person who posted an image can still see the “like” count privately.
There have been a lot of positive and negative reactions to this newly implemented test run, with most of the concern being for the livelihood of Instagram’s influencers.
After the initial idea was announced, Elle ran a story titled “Instagram Is Experimenting With Hiding Likes, Which Would Make It Much Harder to Be an Influencer,” which points out that brands care a lot more about hiring influencers with high engagement rates (a high percentage of likes compared to their follower count) on their posts than they do about how many followers someone has.
On the contrary, marketing blogger Charles Tumotto Jackson argued that influencers would be fine — probably just pivoting to a higher reliance on Instagram Stories. That’s where they can use the swipe-up feature to link directly to purchasing pages, and “everything becomes measurable and even more transparent than it used to be.”
Plus, like mentioned above, the influencers themselves can still see how many likes are being brought in, which is something they can show to a brand just like the back-end analytics already provides–proving once more that their business and livelihood probably won’t be affected by this change as much as people think.
Whether you’re trying to build your influencer game or you just frequent the platform to see what your friends are up to: how do you feel about public “like” counts possibly being no more?