No Likes on Instagram, How Removing the Red Heart Is Not the End of the World

Scroll, scroll, scroll, double tap, scroll, double tap, and so the pattern goes of browsing through Instagram. There is an innate need for millennials to like photos on social media, especially Instagram. From using a red heart to stay connected to an old friend to wanting to be part of the 41,138 other people who liked @kayla_itsines post workout photo announcing a new challenge, liking happens for many reasons. However, our liking obsessed culture could be coming to an end, as Instagram has decided to toy with the idea of removing likes.

The Facts

  1. Instagram first piloted the idea in Canada and has since rolled out the test in New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Italy, and Ireland.

  2. You can still see who likes your photos and videos, but no one else can see the views or likes on pictures and videos.

  3. Instagram says it’s “because [they] want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”

The Design

The Problem

Young people can often have lower self-esteem by not getting enough likes. However, this is not the only side effect of an insta perfect obsessed culture. There are the issues of bullying, feeling left out, comparing one’s life to others, and being constantly exposed to perfect images. Overall, Instagram has been identified as the most harmful social media app for young adults and children by the Royal Society for Public Health in the United Kingdom.

Are Influencers Going to Die out?

Many influencers became prominent throughout the use of various media platforms especially Instagram. Tagging their photos #ad or #sponsored is part of being paid for work on social media, but likes are the biggest part of making Instagram your job. Likes act as a currency on Instagram and are used to determine engagement ratings and in turn help arrange deals between brands and influencers. However, there are additional metrics that can measure the success of a post, influencer and account as part of a greater marketing strategy. Ryan Detert CEO of Influential which is an AI based influencer market place said, “There are several other metrics that can be used to measure the validity and effectiveness of a brand’s campaign. We also look at story engagement, follower growth, and attention metrics like video completion, audio on or off, and valid and viewable impressions. Click-through rates that measure new leads and website traffic is also something that we look at very closely."

Is this forever?

Unsurprisingly, Instagram has not informed the general public of the results of the pilot programs. Thus, it is hard to know if it is affecting the platform positively or negatively. However, if Instagram decides to remove likes it will trend more towards the likes of VSCO which is a platform that many young adult females use. It has an array of filter and edit settings along with a fully public feed with no likes or comments. VSCO has exploded in the past few years, so if likes do go away, it would truly not be the end of the world.

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