You read that right: Instagram is hiding like counts. But don’t fret – this is only in the testing phase… for now.
Instagram has introduced this test in an attempt to improve users’ self-esteem, as studies have shown Instagram lessens the self-worth of users who chase engagement. The Royal Society for Public Health has even ruled the outlet as the worst for young people’s mental health, linking it to higher levels of anxiety, depression, bullying and FOMO, or “fear of missing out.”
According to Buzzfeed, followers in the test will not see total likes on photos or views on videos in the main feed or when visiting a user’s profile. In their place will read “and others,” rather than a total amount.
Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, is hoping this test will create a “less pressurized environment” where users feel more comfortable being themselves. In the past, Instagram, along with Facebook and Twitter, has received criticism that likes incentivize negative behavior and cause users to tie self-image to the amount of engagement their posts get.
From a PR standpoint, this leaves me with a lot of questions. Will tracking engagement on social media become completely obsolete? What does this mean for social media influencers, some of whom earn a living based off of their metrics?
For now, I am comforted in knowing that account owners will still have complete access to their own metrics, and can see the total likes or view counts on their posts.
As a human being, I am relieved that social media giants are taking notice about how their channels impact the thought processes of young users – and are working to create a safer environment for impressionable minds.