Influencers are outraged by the recent trial to remove the number of ‘likes’ on Instagram. Users can no longer view the number of ‘likes’ on another person’s posts, and must click a prompt in order to see the number of likes on their own posts. The trial is taking place in Australia and several other countries, Instagram says in attempt to improve the mental health of young people.
With 1 billion active users, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms. A study in 2017 found that Instagram was the most damaging social media platform to the mental health of young people aged 14 – 24.
Instagram hopes that the removal of likes will help improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people, and prevent them from comparing themselves to others based on the number of likes they get. Instagram tweeted it’s reason for the move.
“We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get. You can still see your own likes by tapping on the list of people who’ve liked it, but your friends will not be able to see how many likes your post has received.”
Despite Instagram’s attempt to improve mental health, influencers are raging about this huge decision. This change potentially means that Instagram influencers’ content will need to be of much higher quality in order to appeal to users and brands who wish to collaborate.
19-year-old Australian Instagram model, Mikaela Testa, among many other influencers, is devastated by the trial saying it is affecting her job. She took to Facebook to voice her fury.
“Regardless of what you may think Instagram is a REAL job and those in the industry have worked hard to get where they’re at. I’ve put my blood sweat and tears into this for it to be ripped away.”
Influencers who have created a business around their use on the social media platform, are questioning whether Instagram is removing likes for financial reasons. Businesses are going directly to influencers and to advertise their brands, and Instagram is missing out on the financial benefits.
Some believe it is a cover up to make them look socially responsible, and they’re actually removing likes so they can control all engagement on the platform and force influencers and businesses to turn to buying Instagram adverts.