Instagram is removing likes on posts in several different countries. This including Australia and Japan, in order to “remove pressure” on users.
The trial means that users will see a user name “and others” below photos and videos, rather than showing a number of likes below the post. But, Instagram users can still view the number of likes their own post receives.
We’re currently running a test that removes the total number of likes and video views for some people in the following countries:
✅ New Zealand pic.twitter.com/2OdzpIUBka
— Instagram (@instagram) July 17, 2019
The trail of removing Instagram likes comes from a concern that social media platforms can contribute to low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy in young people. A similar trial to hide Instagram likes was trialed in Canada in May, and the new test is now taking place in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and Brazil.
In a recent statement, Mia Garlick, Facebook Director of Policy said “We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love”. She also adds that the goal is users feel less judged and to see “whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story”.
Instagram said the test would not affect measurement tools. And that users can still view the people who liked other people’s content by clicking into it. When the test was run in Canada, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said the aim was to reduce the stress of posting online with users competing over the number of likes their posts get. “We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about,” he explained.
The number of likes on an Instagram post gets is a measure of success or popularity. Studies suggest this kind of instant feedback on content can boost people’s self-esteem but bring others down if they do not get as many likes. Studies have linked social media platforms to having a negative effect on mental health, especially when it comes to younger people. Earlier this month, Instagram also revealed a new feature to tackle online bullying.
The number of likes is also a way to put a value on a post for the business side of Instagram. An Instagram Influencer who gets paid for the content they post is measured by the number of likes their social media activity generates.
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