Did instagram take away likes? Forever?

Since the beginning of social media, individuals popularity on each platform has been measured by publicly displayed engagement scores, specifically the number of likes they recieve. As insignificant as this number should be, it has ultimately been the driving factor behind individuals efforts on social media. With how important this number can be to so many users, why would instagram even consider getting rid of it?

So actually I should probably correct myself right here because technically, instagram is not fully taking away your likes. What they are actually doing is removing the public display of this metric so you will no longer be able to see how many likes others recieve on their posts by scrolling through your timeline. Instead, you will now only be able to view the amount of likes you personally get on each of your posts in a private manner.

As you can see in the screenshot I have included, Instagram now only lists one individual who has liked your post followed by "and others." You can click on this and scroll through the users that have liked each post. So I guess if you wanted to spend your time counting the amount of likes others get on their photos you can do that but... that will probably get old very quickly.


When and Why did Instagram start considering hiding likes?

Instagram started playing around with the idea of removing likes from its platform in 2019 by changing this ability only on select accounts. These tests ran in several countries over the past few years in efforts to determine if removing this metric would be beneficial to users experience on the platform. The idea was that by removing this metric, the pressure of creating an "aesthetically pleasing" profile would be taken away and replaced with more authentic content from users. However, instagram has not ever publically revealed their findings from these trials making it uncertain if their idea was as influential as they had predicted.

As much as removing likes from Instagram sounds like the easiest fix to reducing the amount of effort and stress that come along with posting on social media, it has also been predicted that users may switch to using different platforms that give this information to continue to receive affirmation of their popularity.

Again, since none of the results from the previously run tests have been brought to public knowledge, there is no way to be certain whether or not this change is here to stay or how long it will last. The only thing that I do know for sure is that this is the most widespread this change has ever been made since at this current time, there are no accounts in the U.S. displaying this metric.


What does this mean for influencers and brands?

This is likely a question that has came to your mind since influencers popularity and brands reach seems to be obvious when you look at how many likes they recieve on their posts. However, even without this metric being public, the same individuals and companies will be able to hold their status on the platform. This is because social media marketing platforms have the ability to see influencers engagement, reach, and other metrics related to their relationship with their followers. On the other hand, it will be more important than ever for influencers to create elaborate social media kits in order to get the partnerships they usually get offered.

However, it may give other users on Instagram to prove themselves to brands based on the content they post upfront since at first glance there will be more even of a playing field on the platform. On the other hand, it might make it harder for influencers to determine if the brands contacting them are legit. This is because many brands grow followers quickly but users do not interact with their social media content. If this is the case, influencers will still have success on their own page from supporting the brand but they may not see the growth they are used to when brands repost their photos.

Now what?

As I have stated previously, at this point we do not have any solid evidence that this change is permanent or if it is just another temporary test. Regardless of the outcome, this adjustment gives us all a reminder of just how insignificant these metrics should be to our lives and well being. As much as I am sure you have had a rush of happiness after watching one of your posts "blow up" or reach your most likes ever, allow yourself to become more comfortable posting what you actually want to share with the world rather than what you think it wants to see. Take this time to understand that these numbers have no implication to your worth or abilities.

I am sure that there are many mixed emotions surrounding this news but ultimately, Instagram as a platform will continue to make the best decisions for its users. In the end express yourself in the way that makes you proud and is the best representation of who you are. In the long run, I am sure that you will continue to enjoy your experience on Instagram but hopefully it will be even better than before.

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