Will Removing “Hearts” on IG be Worthwhile, or a Ludicrous Mistake?
By: Amir Garcia
Let’s face it: a good number of us use social media practically every day. This is far from a bad thing though, as it can be used to communicate with people, find the latest news on topics, or simply to find a way to spend your free time.
While there are several of them, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, the one that’s currently the most controversial is Instagram.
Out of all the social media apps, Instagram by far seems to be the most…questionable, for lack of a better term. In fact, out of all of the social media apps, it by far seems the most fickle, as there’s usually no telling what will happen with it.
One of the reasons for this is due to IG making changes in the past that no one asked, such as making DMs much more limited, having posts no longer show up in feeds in chronological order, or no longer having the ability to see what posts your followers like/comment on.
However, one current change that has some individuals fretting about is the removal of likes. Likes on a photo show how much engagement it’s getting, as it illustrates how many people see or enjoy that particular post.
Yet Instagram is now deciding to do away with the feature like its old news. However, it won’t be gone entirely, since you’ll still be able to see your like on your own posts. Just not on others.
What’s most surprising is that this isn’t even a new policy when it comes to IG. Being that the app has already removed likes in Canada, Italy, Japan and New Zealand, and has just now begun to test it in the U.S.
Of course, one might not think that this change is that big to begin with. After all, all it will do is cause an arbitrary number to no longer pop within your feed, right? If only it were that simple.
The thing is that removing likes on Instagram will harm the influencers who use it the most, such as celebrities, YouTubers or content creators, who require this form of engagement and visibility in order to get the attention of brands.
An article from PBS.org from Jamie Leventhal puts it best, which states: “Influencers likes as a mean of attracting advertisers, and now they will have to recalibrate how they do business.”
To give an analogy, it would be like a marketing a new product, except the amount of people who purchased the product would only be visible to you and no one else. Without being able to share these analytics, how would a company know if investing in this product is beneficial for them?
As you can see, this change seems to be more trouble than it’s worth. After all, wouldn’t it be better and more convenient for influencers to leave things as they are now instead?
Unfortunately, IG does not seem to share this mindset. The CEO of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, has stated that this change was done in order to tone down the anxiety and social pressure for youths when it comes to being fixated on likes.
For an everyday teenager who checks their feed daily, one could somewhat see this form of reasoning. Yet this does nothing to quell influencers’ fears, especially when there seems to be no plans for an alternative to replace those rosy hearts.
Some influencers such as Nicki Minaj have even threatened to leave the platform altogether and stick to Twitter instead, while the rapper Rico Nasty stated that Instagram would eventually become as dead as MySpace with this change.
Of course, this does not mean that all influencers are doom and gloom about this change. One Instagram influencer known as @StyleFeen has a more optimist outlook, stating:
“As an influencer, this hopefully should not affect you getting paid work. Brands have backend data to let them know influencers engagement and impressions.” ~@StyleFeen
Kim Kardashian has even gone as far as to call this a favorable decision, stating “As far as mental health, I mean it’s something that taking that aspect away from it would be really beneficial for people.”
So will removing likes on Instagram be yet another unwelcome change, or will it actually benefit the platform in the long-run? At the moment, no one can tell. Since this decision seems to be set in stone, however, the best that people can do now is watch and wait.