Instagram Removes Likes Feature


Starting this week, Instagram is planning to test the removal of the likes feature for “some” users. Likes, otherwise known as hearts, will then disappear from chosen users Instagram’s feed and user pages. Although the user will be able to see the amount of likes they get, their followers will not know the count. By doing this, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri hopes to alleviate pressure and make things less competitive on the social media platform. 

Recently, social media platforms have come under pressure to monitor content on their websites as well as help to curb “screen addiction”. Consequently, many people have expressed their support for the removal of the likes feature. International markets have already seen this change, with likes being removed in Canada and Australia. US participants will be chosen at random to test this new initiative. Celebrities have already weighed in, with Nicki Minaj threatening to stop posting if likes are removed, in stark contrast with Kim Kardashian’s support of the alteration as a means to benefit mental health.. 

However, some small influencers who rely on likes may be affected by this. Brand deals and other connections depend on a large number of likes, and with the removal of the like feature, potential business partners will not be able to see them. As an alternative, Instagram is still maintaining the follower count feature, so influencers may still have an alternative method. The change in the metric of competition concerns some who may see competition rise in a field they are not performing well in. 

Although the change is established to prevent the detrimental effects of social media on mental health, psychologists say this isn’t enough. Activities on Instagram, such as cyberbullying or feeling inferior is what affects a person psychologically combined with the constant stream of unrealistic images. 

While Instagram doesn’t know if it will permanently remove likes or not, this week serves as a test to see the harms and benefits of such a procedure and whether it will truly destress the environment around social media once and for all.