23.11.2020

Could Instagram be about to hide likes?

Digital researcher Jane Manchun Wong shared some screenshots on Twitter that suggest Instagram may utterly change the way we use their platform. Instead of being able to see how many people have liked any single post, we would just see a few named handles followed by “and others”. The number of likes a post gets would only be visible to the person who posted it. We may also not be able to publicly see how many followers an account has.

It looks like Instagram is thinking of hiding likes on all its posts. Fast Company reported earlier today that the powers that be at our favourite photo-sharing platform might be copying Twitter’s decision to take away visible metrics.

“We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get,” Instagram says in an in-app message explaining the change. “During this test, only the person who shared a post will see the total number of likes it gets.”

We have so many questions.

How will influencers function, if they can’t prove how many followers they have?

How will we know how to assess our own popularity, if we can’t measure it in likes?

Does a post even exist if nobody’s seen to have enjoyed it?

Now that we think of it, perhaps we’ve just discovered precisely why Instagram is changing its ways. Measuring our own likability by the number of people who hit a certain button is a dangerous habit we’ve all pursued a little too vigorously in the past few years. Maybe this change from Instagram will force us all to rethink the importance we put on a post’s popularity. It could be… really good??

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