There’s an old proverb that goes…If an Instagram influencer posts a shirtless selfie and nobody can see how many likes it racked up, did it ever really happen?
After testing out removing like counts in several countries including Canada and Australia, the Facebook-owned platform is set to begin rolling back the feature in the US this week.
It’s a major shift that proponents argue will help combat the competitive and sometimes toxic environment users experience on the app.
But there are just as many if not more people who aren’t so thrilled with the change. Like counts have become a standard metric that businesses and celebrities use to measure success on Instagram. And for professional influencers, high like counts help get the attention of brands, which in turn leads to revenue.
Here’s what to expect as Instagram begins testing.
- The change won’t affect everyone all at once. Some users (and that group is not clearly defined) will begin seeing like counts vanish this week.
- Affected users will still be able to see how many likes their own posts receive, but followers will not.
- Users will likely see a message from Instagram pop up when their account is affected. In other countries, it’s read something like:
“Testing a change to how you see likes — We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only you will be able to see the total number of likes on your posts.”
- You will still be able to like posts and videos.
- When someone you follow has liked a photo you’re viewing, it will say underneath the photo: “[Name of user] and others”. Clicking that link will bring up a list of people who have liked the post, but not a total like count.
The change already has some high-profile critics. Nicki Minaj said she’d stop using the app if likes are removed for good, and Cardi B has pointed out that the real problem isn’t likes, it’s the culture of harassment in comments sections.
Do you think it’s a good move to do away with like counts? Sound off below…