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The Potential Impact of Instagram Removing Likes

Photo courtesy of Prateek Katyal

If you haven’t already heard, there’s controversy in the Instagram world.

A few months ago, conversations began about the possibility of the popular platform removing the number of likes on a post.

Instagram shared via Twitter:

“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.”

Talk about making this change stems from mental health studies that have concluded detrimental mental effects that social media is having on people, specifically youth. According to a recent report done by the UK’s Royal Society for Public Health and the Young Health Movement, “anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleep quality and negative impact on body image were all reported” as potential social media threats.

Users have become so obsessed with likes that they seem to care more about their Instagram fame than the actual content they are producing. Because it has become such a competitive environment, Instagram hopes that by making this software adjustment, it would promote more genuine connections and a healthier mindset.

While research continues to be conducted and places such as Canada undergo trials, influencers and companies raise red flags at the idea of this update. Though all are in favor of promoting mental health, Instagram users who earn a living based on their social media presence worry that it will severely impact engagement and therefore brand partnerships.

If likes are invisible, it will likely prevent people from engaging with posts in the first place and ultimately hurt their brand presence due to the Instagram algorithm. Additionally, if companies cannot easily access influencer engagement numbers, they will be less likely to initiate collaborations and therefore it will significantly harm a user’s potential income.

So here’s to weighing the pros and cons and seeing if Instagram actually makes the move. Cheers!

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