After an exciting trip or just a day spent with your friends, a post on Instagram may seem fitting to end the moment. As time passes, the photo is seen by friends family members and even strangers, and it receives likes and comments. Each like sends a reassuring feeling to you, knowing people enjoyed what you posted. Are those likes necessary, or do they put pressure on a person to post the best pictures? Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri is experimenting with taking away the like feature on the app to see if it removes pressure associated with Instagram.
Instagram has gathered 111 million users in the United States, making it the leading country in users. The platform is currently ranked second for most popular social media apps, trailing only behind its parent company, Facebook.
Over the past few years, Instagram likes have been called into question. Some users say they cause people to compare themselves to others, fostering self-doubt and low confidence. For sophomore Shayna Kotler, taking away the like feature would be an improvement to the app because “it doesn’t matter how many likes you get, Instagram should be about sharing your photos with your friends.”
On the other hand, some disapprove of the idea of taking away likes. “It allows you to know when people see your post, and how many people like what your posting,” sophomore Rebecca McMillen said.
Others are indifferent about the removal. According to junior Alex Ochman, likes “are just there to fill in empty space” and would not affect him if taken away.
Mosseri’s goal behind the removal is to create a healthier environment on Instagram. He wants the app to become centered around the posts and not the numbers it draws in.
Instagram has been testing out removing likes in countries such as Canada, Japan and Brazil. A select group of users are part of the test group and have experienced the removal of likes. The response to the removal has been varied, with some saying this is the right move and others outraged.
Instagram likes have created a business out of the app. Brands ask users to promote their products, if their like and follower count is high enough, such users have been dubbed influencers.
For social media influencers, the removal of likes brings a new face to the business. While it allows people to focus more on the content rather than numbers, it will take time to get brands to support the idea. Brands will have to create a new way to determine whether or not a user is qualified to promote their products.
Although Instagram is removing likes, the creators of the app will not be removing the following count. Some say the follower count is just as large of an issue as likes and also needs to be addressed.