GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.‒ Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced his plan to remove “likes” from the popular social media platform last week. The intention is to eliminate the pressures of social media for U.S. users.
“The idea is to try and reduce anxiety and social comparisons, specifically with an eye towards young people,” Mosseri said.
The new upgrade went into effect for a some Instagram users this week, but there are no specifics on how long the pilot program will last.
After Instagram tested hiding the “likes” count that appears underneath a posted photo or video in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Italy, and Brazil, Mosseri decided to bring the idea to the U.S.
With it in place, users will be able to see their own “likes” privately, but this information will not be visible to other users.
The question is whether removing this feature makes posting photos or videos even worth it. “The idea is to try and depressurize Instagram, make it less of a competition,” Mosseri said. “We will make decisions that hurt the business if they are good for people’s well-being and health because it has to be good for the business in the long-run.”
Through this experiment, Mosseri said he welcomes feedback from U.S. users. His tweet from November 8 stated the following: “Heads up! We’ve been testing making likes private on Instagram in a number of countries this year. We’re expanding those tests to include a small portion of people in the US next week. Looking forward to the feedback!”
Instagram has become one of the top places online among young teens and adults to compare popularity through follower counts and likes, but his hope in this decision is to combat the competition. Mosseri wants Instagram to become the safest place on the internet, to reflect the parts of the app that are about creativity and art rather than self-promotion.
Maranda had the chance to sit down and talk to students from Forest Hills Eastern High School about this topic. The feedback from these young people was pleasantly surprising. The students were in support of this new upgrade saying they would feel “relieved” to not have the likes shown on their photos. They’re happy they would no longer have to worry about the social aspect of how many likes they get on their posts and just post pictures for the fun of it.
Check out the full by Instagram announcement here!