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Instagram may be getting rid of 'likes' to prevent social media competition

Alyssa Clementi

During Facebook’s annual developer conference, F8, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri confirmed the app is testing a trial version that will hide 'likes' and view counts from the public. Recently, the effects of social media popularity have come into the limelight, with teenagers and young adults becoming increasingly obsessed with their 'likes'. The rise of social media has even triggered a decline in user’s mental health, bringing out symptoms of depression, anxiety, and social isolation.

The Facebook-owned app launched the updated version in Canada last week, in an effort to see how user’s behavior changes without viewable metrics. The version will show user’s photos on their feed, as usual, but will make the 'likes' and view count only visible to the person who posted it.

“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,” said Mosseri. “We do hear people worry about how many like counts they get.”

While some users may welcome this updated version with open arms, some Instagram members may resent the idea, especially social media influencers who rely on likes and views for their income. Other analysts point out that some users prefer the action of visibly supporting their friends’ posts.

Mosseri’s announcement came around the same time Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey teased the idea of a new version of Twitter that also hides 'likes' and retweets. The company is currently testing an altered version of the app, renamed twttr, that lacks public metrics and is only visible to the author of the post.