Not so long ago Instagram implemented hiding likes for the users from Canada. The reason for this experiment is to allow people to focus on the quality of content and supposedly increase the amount of more meaningful engagements. When the test was initiated, like and view metrics could only be seen by the account owner. Instagram intends to analyse the results, and if they are successful, hiding likes and view counts will be introduced in other countries.
Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, stated: “We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time with people they care about.” He also said that the company didn’t want the platform to feel like a competition, but to be a more welcoming environment. By hiding likes, Instagram is seeking to place more emphasis on the quality of content, not the number of likes.
By fake photos and news, some influencers conducted researches to check how many people click likes behind the posts and how many of them really understand the given information. Results showed that clicking ‘like’ is more of a reflex for many people. How will the situation change when likes will be hidden?
Comparing the number of likes can harm personal confidence. The University of Copenhagen completed a study which shows how people can indeed suffer from “social media envy’. Besides, with influencers, celebrities and a lot of other Instagram users mostly sharing impressive content through social media, some people are unable to separate these moments and everyday reality. As a result, some can find it difficult to value their own lives and their personal identity.
Hiding likes may potentially increase the number of comments. Once likes are hidden, users may feel more confidence commenting and sharing content they like.
This kind of innovation may cause difficulties for brands and influencers. As brands often seek for influencers with a high level of engagement, it will be difficult to pick an influencer without this data. Besides, likes are a part of marketing analysis. If they are hidden forever, there will be a demand in extra services for assessing engagement. Brands may be driven to look for other methods to gain accurate metrics for audience analytics. Calculating level of engagement could be more difficult, meaning brands will have to settle on the next best option.
Of course, there are negative sides of comparing likes and popularity, but it is also true that many people find joy in supporting a post, a friend, an influencer or a brand with their likes. Besides, receiving approval from others in the form of likes is one of the driving forces of content creation.
So, it is quite possible, that the experiment with hiding likes will come to an end, despite the idea, which came with the best of intentions.