As of Friday, Nov. 8, Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram, announced that it will no longer display likes on photos. You will be the only one who can see how many people have liked your post.
Instagram’s reasoning for this change is to put less pressure on its younger audience to constantly compete with one other and focus this energy more on creativity, self-expression and connecting with others. Their goal therefore is to improve mental health.
So far, Instagram has tested this in seven countries, hiding likes on posts from accounts owned by users located in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand.
Other platforms have also taken after Instagram and tested out removing likes or engagement from their audiences, those being, Instagram’s parent company Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
With Instagram being such a big part of many people’s lives, this will certainly be a change, but Instagram is hoping it will be a positive one.
There have been opposing opinions on this in the University of Rhode Island community, with some looking forward to it, and others not seeing what the point of Instagram is without likes.
Freshman Layza Quinteros said she supports this change in anticipation that it will be effective.
“I think this will be effective in improving young people’s mental health because it will stop them from obsessing over whether or not people liked what they posted and stop them from looking for society’s approval,” Quinteros said.
However, freshman Eduen Smith is conflicted on what to think about this. Smith said that there are both pros and cons to change depending on if the account is for personal or business purposes.
“I feel like getting rid of likes would help people’s self-esteem and people wouldn’t be pressured to post for likes,” Smith said. “But if you’re a business on Instagram it would be better to see the likes of people you interact with and who is drawn to your page.”
Although Smith said that she enjoys being able to see who likes her photos as well as who likes other people’s pictures.
Freshman Tess Carmel is also on the fence about this new change. She thinks that being able to see the amount of likes on photos can be a good thing.
“I understand why they’re doing this so it’s not as materialistic and not self-deprecating if you don’t get a lot of likes, but I feel like this is why we have Instagram; it can boost our self-esteem when we get likes and comments,” Carmel said. “In this case you might as well get rid of the amount of followers as well and just have your profile.”
On the other hand, freshman Abbey Pierce is in full support of Instagram getting rid of the visibility of likes.
“I support this because I think that in this day and age, with mental illnesses, phones have a big impact on that in young adults’ lives,” Pierce said. “I think this will be a positive change for Instagram.”
There was a surprising and overwhelming amount of support in the URI student community for this change in the Instagram platform. Students value their as well as others’ mental health, and they see that as more important than just a number on a picture.
From this change, one can only wonder if other social media platforms will also make this change and remove likes from their users’ posts. It will be interesting to see the direction that Instagram is headed as one of the biggest platforms dominated by a younger audience.