Instagram, one of the biggest social media platforms has been seen making few tests recently in which it has started to hide the number of likes and followers to other Instagram users and limit the visibility of these numbers to the owner of the account.
A fair amount of people are convinced with Instagram’s decision to hide engagement matrices as they think that this step will be better for the mental health and creativity of other Instagram users.
A well-known tech blogger made an argument saying that hiding likes and followers will be better for everyone.
She said that the decision of hiding engagement and subscriber numbers has already been established and this will be good for the mental health of the content creators which will also help to widen the options of content creation on the platform.
She said: “Rather than criticize these Silicon Valley giants for taking so long, I have to praise them because they’ve recognized that they need to be dismantled a bit and that their dismantling is better for everyone and society as a whole.”
The tech blogger believes that social media is a game of numbers which can rather be manipulated and abused. According to her the dependence on numbers– even the fake ones– is the reason why Russia managed to create false political content and share it in the United States.
She wrote: “When it comes to facts, popularity has replaced the truth.”
She added: “Criticisms about hiding engagement numbers have mostly been about influencers and problems they could face; however, the solution is easy, let advertisers have access to the engagement numbers of the influencers. The numbers just don’t need to be public anymore.
Another tech blogger admitted that hiding the engagement doesn’t sound like a bad thing, and young people will find a way around it.
In a blog post, she said: “Taking away the little red heart does little to protect users – the culture of validation is too deeply entrenched to be killed off.”
She suspects that users will find other ways of measuring the engagement numbers such as interaction through comments and shares or using words and emoticons.
She concludes: Making an Instagram without engagement numbers is certainly not as dramatic of a decision as it seems, and it is one of those changes that keep waving in weekly but does not good in tackling the social media issues.
In May this year, Instagram confirmed that they are testing a feature that hides the total number of likes on photos and videos. The head of the social media platform, Adam Mosseri, confirmed it by announcing the initial tests in Canada.
In April, the Information Commissioner’s office in the United Kingdom published a draft of its new code of practice. Their 16 point list of age-oriented online services included turning the like feature for the minors.
They believe that the “nudge” techniques such as “streaks” on Snapchat and likes on Facebook and Instagram allure the younger generation to use social media for a long time period.
The first ever like button was introduced by Vimeo– a video sharing platform in 2005 and further Facebook introduced its thumbs up like button in 2009 followed by YouTube and Instagram in 2010.
A like on social media can give users a mental boost as the brain starts to release dopamine as a reward.
A study concluded that the same brain circuits are activated on eating chocolates and winning money as they are enabled upon getting likes. The study monitored 32 teenagers between the age group of 13-18 using a smaller platform similar to Instagram. The study also clarified that seeing likes on other user’s posts made users engage more with it.