Okay Instagram, WTF Is Going On With You Hiding The Number Of Likes? We Don’t Like.
When historians will look back into how social media affected change in human civilisation, they’ll be drowned in rage tweets trying to document it. This phenomenon has invented itself more times than anyone can count, each time stirring reactions from people. Given its steep rise in popularity in just a couple of years, social media platforms have shaken things up in every industry. Business, branding, marketing, entertainment and much more…everyone has a stake in this 21st-century product!
Out of all of them, Instagram has to be the biggest game-changer, especially for brands and people who are sometimes a brand in themselves. Starting as just a photo-sharing platform, it is now home to many businesses, big and small. Influencers have built legitimate careers by showcasing and monetising their content. Which is why a recent update on the app has gotten everyone, especially artists and creators, up in arms.
Why Is Instagram Hiding Likes?
Starting off, the reason for this move from the social media giant is rooted in taking the space back to its humbler beginnings. Chief executive Adam Mosseri said in a statement, “The idea is to try to depressurize Instagram, make it less of a competition, and give people more space to focus on connecting with the people they love and things that inspire them”. Matt Zuvella, from the influencer marketing platform FamePick, heralded the decision and commented, “It’s a moment of reckoning for the industry,” he said. “People faking it will fade away, and people who are real will stand out”. This was aimed at brands and people who have gained recognition on the platform by buying their followers and like count numbers.
ALSO READ: Indian “Influencers” Have The Third Highest Number Of Fake Followers On Instagram. Is Your Favourite Blogger The Real Deal?
Starting today, we’re expanding our test of private like counts globally. If you’re in the test, you’ll no longer see the total number of likes and views on photos and videos posted to Feed unless they’re your own. pic.twitter.com/DztSH0xiq2
— Instagram (@instagram) November 14, 2019
So what does it mean for Instagram to start hiding likes? A tweet from the platform’s official Twitter account sheds some light on this. The users who are being tested with hidden likes will get a message from the app and have the number of likes hidden. While we do understand the reasoning behind the move, we wonder if this is the best way to do it. As someone who works in the media industry, a simple thing like the number of ‘likes’ on a post is still an important metric on how my content is received.
I’m not posting on IG after this week cuz they removing the likes. Hmmmm what should I get into now? Think of all the time I’ll have with my new life
— Mrs. Petty (@NICKIMINAJ) November 9, 2019
A number of popular artists and influencers have spoken out against this as well. Fine artist Peter Deluce relies on his work on Insta and gets the majority of his business from it. “Instagram removing likes may be terrible for emerging artists online. Instagram allowed me to reach a whole new section of people who don’t normally get to see art. “Likes are a good metric to prove your art is high quality – that there is a validation of your ideas and content. Without likes, recognition in the art world returns to who you know or subjective elitist tastes”, he commented.
Why Is The ‘Likes’ Metric On Instagram Important For Creators?
So here’s where we feel the most stubbed. If the number of ‘Likes’ are not public knowledge anymore, how are we supposed to approach brands and marketers to vouch for our content? Any kind of private statistic can be manipulated by a simple Photoshop session. For people who are not creators, this will have little to no effect. But a big chunk of its users will feel lost till the platform comes up with alternate methods to measure the quality of someone’s content. We totally agree with Cardi B, people who are on the platform just to stay connected with friends and family do not care about ‘likes’ in the first place. The only people this move will be affecting are the people who need the numbers for genuine business practices.
If Instagram is so concerned about people faking numbers, they need to come up with a better solution for that. Or at least, give the user the choice to keep their number public or private, just like their profile!
ALSO READ: Instagram’s Restrict Anti-Bullying Tool Is A Great Effort But Unsolicited DMs? You Might Still Get Those