Instagram has announced that they are hiding “like counts” from some followers as a test to create “a less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves,” according to Buzzfeed News. The social media platform is used by about 1 billion monthly active users worldwide, and more than 500 million of them use the platform everyday. Instagram says they often hear users complain and worry about how many like counts they get, so they're testing to see if that's important.
Mental health professionals believe that “likes,” which was first introduced by Facebook almost a decade ago, can be an inaccurate way of measuring genuine engagement and even feelings from its users. While there are several different online services that can buy likes or comments for social media influencers, there have been plenty of people who use their own accounts as bots to “exploit and benefit” from different kinds of online engagement.
Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri, says that while the company doesn’t plan on fully removing like counts or video views, he and his team of researchers are hoping to learn from this test.
Jill Murphy, editor-in-chief of Common Sense Media, says that the removal of likes would benefit minors the most. That’s because many teens who use social media often post in hopes that they get as many likes as possible without thinking about the content that they are sharing online. She notes that many teens and minors usually don’t think of the long-term ramifications of broadcasting their personal posts on a daily basis.
Instagram is one of the most popular social networks in the world, and especially among young adults. While many social media users have abandoned Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, Instagram has remained one of the most used platforms across several different key demographics.
According to statistics, about 70 percent of Instagram users have fewer than 1,000 followers while 15 percent have between one thousand and 10,000 followers. About 5 percent have followers ranging from 10,000 to 50,000 users. The countries with the most Instagram users include the United States, followed by Brazil and India.