Social media photo posting app, Instagram, is testing out hiding the number of likes on posts in six countries, in a bid to lessen social media pressure on its users.
The countries included in the trial that started on Thursday are Australia, Canada, Italy, Brazil, Ireland, and New Zealand.
The reason the social media app is testing this version is due to concerns from low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy in users, who end up relying on the number of likes to feel good or worthy.
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Instagram knows what’s up! Instagram users in Australia will no longer be able to see how many likes a post has a received under trial changes to “remove pressure” on the digital platform. Goodbye to likes, goodbye to social stigmas, goodbye to unrealistic standards. Hello mental health. Although it’s not a cure, it is absolutely a small win for society. Fabulous image and post by @thebornalchemist 👊🏼 . . . . . . . . . . . #instagramlikes #instagram #instagramaustralia #therapist #clinical #medical #relaxation #counselling #cbt #anxietymanagementskills #communicationtraining #womenshealth #pregnancyhealth #mentalhealth #familyhealth #northernbeaches #northshore #easternsuburbs
"Remove pressure" and improve content
What will users now see instead of the likes?
You'll still be able to see the number of likes on each post once you click on the users' names -- the difference is that no one else will be able to see them.
What others will see on your profile instead is a name or two of people who did like your post then "others." Clean and simple.
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.— Instagram (@instagram) July 17, 2019
What Instagram hopes will happen is that users will switch their main focus to posting incredible content and captions, instead of trying to amalgamate the highest number of likes on each post.
"We hope the test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things that you love," said Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy.
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The psychology of being “liked” on social media. That little rush you get when your post gets a like is your brain getting a hit of dopamine. The more likes, the more hits. The more hits you get, the more hits you want. This destructive loop has created a mental health and self-worth epidemic. Thank you @instagram for taking a conscious step. Let’s hope this test you are running is the first step towards many more conscious and mindful decisions. 🙏
Garlick adds that the shift will hopefully move users away from feeling judged and more towards "telling their story."
I hope that #instagramlikes makes people realize that life ain’t a competition.— MeatPieMark (@MeatPieMark) July 18, 2019
Adam Mosseri, Instagram chief, echoed Garlick's sentiments and said: "We want people to worry less about how many likes they're getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about."
This is an admirable sentiment in many ways, but what will happen to influencers, who rely on the number of likes their posts receive? We'll have to wait and see as the test continues to be carried out.
Influencers once Instagram hides the likes on their posts and they’re rendered useless and have to get a job at Sweetgreens pic.twitter.com/L3LLFxPRHX— marianne williamson outsold (@kaypeaux) July 17, 2019
Reactions have been mixed, with some praising the change and others feeling disgruntled.