The platform has been testing the possibility of making Likes private in a number of countries this year. “We are expanding to include those tests in the U.S. next week. Looking forward to the feedback!”. Said Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram on his Twitter account early this week.
If your Instagram is “on test,” you will see it at the beginning of your feed as a disclaimer. What Instagram said on a press release early this year was that they “want followers to focus on what you share not how many Likes your post gets”, which in the long term will decrease the social media pressure, anxiety and they are doing this for “the sake of mental health”.
Posts will still be able to get the double click option, but only creators can see the number of Likes. However, their followers would not be able to see the number of Likes or the people that previously liked it.
Instagram influencers already started to show their discomfort in their platforms, celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres are suggesting the option of taking down the comments but not the Likes. Since “Likes” are harmless but comments can be the reason why people suffer social anxiety in the first place and people have just started to address the topic during the last week when Instragam has been testing it in countries like Australia and Japan since April 2019.
Instagram is trying to reduce the Like competition and encourages to engage more with followers in the comments than just a Like, but the issue comes when the business model that companies have been following is based on the number of Likes per post as a way to measure the engagement. Likes are the currency of the social media and the main people affected by those new configurations would be influencers and brands. One of the reasons why Instagram is trying to change the rules in the game could be the fact that influencers has been making a lot of money out of the platform that is free and in the future they will start charging for this feature for those with business profiles. It’s a move to eliminate the “third party” and push the brands to do deals directly with the platform instead of using influencers or content creators. There is, most likely a financial incentive behind this, since average Instagram users would not be directly affected by those changes in the long run as content creators are by now.