The facebook-owned company, Instagram recently announced that it is expanding its test where the number of likes shown in a post, be it a picture, video or IGTV are hidden in some countries namely Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand, which was earlier just confined to Canada. In this trial version, users will see the name of a user who has liked the post ‘and other’.
According to the latest news, this step is basically taken to eliminate the pressure of its users of racking up likes in numbers. So instead they would be able to share things they love without being judged on the number of likes and also to let them enable to share their stories. Arguably- when likes are displayed to all, people care too much about them and compare. People view it as an Instagram points — teasing those who get too few, or even go to the extent of buying likes.
The test began in May in Canada where a number of likes were removed from display in the feed to others. ‘Likes, which appear as hearts in Instagram, these days are used to measure success or popularity, especially amongst the youth who keep comparing themselves with others which impact them adversely leaving them with feelings of inadequacy.
The test although removes the number of likes from photo post and video post for all the followers of an account, but it will still be visible to the owner of that account. Likes will not be displayed on the main feed, particular profile page or the permalink page.
Instagram spokesperson said “We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get”. According to a report by the Royal Society for Public Health in the United Kingdom, ‘Instagram is the most detrimental social networking app for young people’s mental health.’
Another major issue occurring due to the increased usage of Instagram includes bullying, feeling left out, giving out the false impression of a happy life and making people believe that lives of other people are better than theirs. So hiding the number of likes does not seem to be the total cure of it.
Instagram recently introduced a new tool which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect whether a comment is offensive or not, even before it is posted. Instagram is also adding a ‘Restrict’ mode wherein once a user is restricted, comments from the person are only visible to him and not to others in the comments section. Also, an added security for the users is that the restricted user will not be able to see if the person is active on Instagram or if they have read their direct messages or not. Indeed some good efforts to reduce online bullying.
But recently, some users in Canada reported that the number of likes displayed to other users had returned to their feed. Instagram confirmed that testing in Canada is in-process.