You may, or may not, be aware that Instagram has made the bold decision to remove the number of likes on a post across a number of countries, including Australia and Japan, with the aim to “remove pressure” on their users.
Although users will be unable to see the number of individual accounts that have liked a particular post – they will still be able to view the number of likes that they have received on their own posts. The reason? The amount of pressure that is placed on individuals through social media, which can then feed on insecurities and lead to feelings of inadequacy, especially in younger users.
According to reports, a similar trial was carried out in Canada earlier in 2019, whilst the countries being used within this larger test are Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brazil, Ireland and Italy.
Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy, said in a statement.
“We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love,”
The goal, she adds, is that users feel less judged and to see “whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story”.
Of course, the test – if approved to roll-out worldwide – is likely to greatly affect influencers who are paid for the content that they post, especially as they are measured based on the volume of likes and social media activity that they receive. Hiding the number of likes that they receive is likely to encourage brands to steer away from these influencers and focus more on paid advertising within Instagram instead, which may be part of the reason why the social media platform is considering switching off links for good.
At present, Instagram has 25 million business profiles but, as things stand, only 2 million of them run paid advertisements on the platform, which is undoubtedly an area that Instagram are looking to grow. Turning off likes will reduce the visibility and awareness that posts generated, so the only way to increase their reach would be through running paid ads instead.
We will let you know if the test proves successful and Instagram officially make the bold move of rolling-out likeless posts in the future.