Social media platform Instagram announced late last year their intention to start hiding likes on users posts. Their thought process behind this is to encourage people to focus more on the content that’s being posted, instead of being concerned and obsessed with the amounts of likes their posts get. They wanted people to find the joy in appreciating photos and sharing their images and additionally take away some of the pressure that is now being associated with “like” culture.

The removal of likes from posts is currently being trialled in test groups in Canada, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand and most recently in the US. Users are notified whether or not they’re involved in a test group but are not given the option to opt out. So what are the pros and cons of hiding likes on Instagram and could this be the future of social media?

Improved mental health

The primary reason that Instagram has made this decision is to positively impact the mental health of its users. “Like” anxiety is becoming more and more of a problem. People using the platform admit to basing their self-worth on the amount of likes that they receive on their posts. It’s been noted that some get so worried about whether they will receive enough likes that they don’t post at all. Of course the very purpose of Instagram itself is not in line with this thinking. Instagram was created as a platform to showcase images and videos and to uplift people as part of a community who also have a passion for photography and sharing fun, interesting, picturesque snippets of their life. Sadly, this switch has now taken place where people seem to have lost the true purpose of the platform and instead, are focused on the number of likes a post gets, as opposed to the post itself. Because of this, Instagram are now trying to reinstate and bring back the culture of sharing and creativity instead of people using the app as a popularity contest. Their overall aim is to actually have users engage more with the platform by taking away the pressure of like validation and in turn, better users mental health.

What does this mean if you’re an influencer and Instagram remove likes?

For those who use the platform as a means of income and are considered social media influencers, the removal of likes does bring into question some possible challenges. Influencers primarily make their income from brands who partner with them to showcase a product or service based on their followers, likes and engagement rates. Taking away likes does not mean that loyal followers will not like a post or be engaged, but the results won’t be visible to others and it won’t be as clear how well a post has performed. This means it would be really tricky for brands to identify who would be suitable to work with and in turn, tricky for influencers to prove their worth to brands. It will be interesting to see how influencers will restructure their pages and approach to interacting with followers and in turn how brands will measure successful influencer campaigns if this does come into action.  It’s fair to say that hiding likes on social platforms has pros and cons to it. It’s clear to see the positive impact it could have on users mental health, however it would also lead to a huge transition in the way that brands work with influencers. Nevertheless, in the forever changing industry, you never know what could be next for social media! At Prohibition, we work with a range of brands of various social media marketing strategies to help create engaging content, reach a wider audience and ensure they are up to date with the latest trends. Get in touch today to find out how we could help you:

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