Instagram is trialling the removal of likes, the one true barometer for measuring self-worth. The platform is experimenting a version of the app in Canada which does not display like counts to analyse how it affects the behaviour of its users.
A spokesperson for the platform says that later this week they plan to run a test “that removes the total number of likes on photos and video views in Feed, Permalink pages and Profile”. You can still “like” posts, but the like count won’t be displayed. “We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get,” adds the spokesperson.
Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, who says that “stories was, in part, responsible for this” reveals that the tech giant is aware that like counts contribute to the stress and anxiety of its users. “We do hear people worry about how many like counts they get”, he says, adding that the switch-up is: “about creating a less pressurised environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves”.
The tech world is experiencing a collective “oh, we may have really fucked this whole thing up” moment – everyone’s best pal Mark Zuckerberg yesterday announced a privacy overhaul at Facebook amid the rapid deterioration of its reputation, while Twitter’s Jack Dorsey recently told a TED talk audience he “wouldn’t create likes in the first place” if he could start again.
Read our story here about how politicians believe social media addiction should be treated as a disease, and our investigation into the way social media platforms are changing the way we grieve.