Instagram has started testing on hiding the number of likes and views that any photo or video receives on its platform. This huge announcement is the result of Instagram’s bad phase-Instagram is not receiving as much engagement as in the past. The company thinks that this idea may help them to remain on top of their competitors and make the experience for users a less pressurized.
On 21 May 2019, during Facebook’s annual developer conference, Instagram’s head Adam Mosseri said that they want to remove the stress of posting content online, people should worry less about the number of likes and views their posts receives. He said, “We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about.”
In the test run, which will roll out in Canada this week, Instagram will display user posts as before, but people would not be able to see the likes’ count on their posts. However, account owners could still view the numbers by clicking through a prompt.
Instagram’s head mentioned that these experiments are a part of a broader idea to create a more welcoming platform where people will not have a fear of not getting likes or views on their posts. “We don’t want Instagram to feel like a competition, we want to make it a less pressurized environment,” were his exact words.
The psychological effects of social media have been a matter of controversy in recent years. Parents, consumer advocates, and even the tech companies complaining about its tendency to increase anxiety and social isolation. Few technologists have also taken the issue with few social media platform who put the engagement metrics at center stage and nudge users to increase those figures by spending more time on the site.
Shielding the engagement metrics may stop people from making any further strategic efforts to increase engagement rates on their profile. But, on the other hand, big issues like social exclusion won’t be solved with the change, said a professor at the University of South California with expertise in social media and psychology. The young generation may still feel a bit left out or worse when they see their friends posting images from parties or other events without them. Not everything is related to the engagement metrics, she added.
Hiding the engagement metrics may give birth to newer problems like diminishing the feeling of camaraderie from liking a popular post tied to a social cause. “While we can focus on the negative side of comparing likes, it is also true that people enjoy the game of supporting a post, a friend or an influencer,” the social media expert said.
Instagram isn’t only the standalone app trying to take down the endless hunt for likes and followers. Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey said last week that if he could establish a new social network new, he would rethink for likes and retweet counts. In the prototype version of the app ‘twttr,’ the company is experimenting with new features, where likes and retweet counts would not be part of the app. Unlike the current version of Twitter, the beta app only showed the metrics on tapping the tweet.
The Instagram experiment will come at the same time when Facebook will bring changes in its entire suite of apps. People will soon be able to run messenger on their desktops, and the company is also thinking on to merge chats of all its services. Facebook’s namesake app is also set for a redesign, with the service orienting itself away from the news feed and towards private chats and group messages.