Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram, has said that hiding like counts on the platform could benefit users.
“The big idea is to try and make Instagram feel less pressurised,” the 36-year-old tech boss told NBC News’ Today programme.
Mosseri added that getting rid of the likes counter, which allows users to see how many likes other people’s posts have acquired, could help make the platform “less of a competition” and prevent them from trying to outdo one another.
If users can no longer see like counts, they will be able to “spend a little bit less time worrying” about how many likes each of their posts accrue, given that they would be the only people to see this figure, Mosseri continued.
That way, they would “have and a little bit more time connecting with people or things that inspire [them],” he added.
But not everyone is quite so optimistic about Mosseri’s proposal, namely social media influencers, who acquire greater commercial value the higher their engagement becomes, something that is primarily measured through the number of followers they have and the amount of likes and comments their posts receive.
Instagram began trialling the like count ban earlier this summer in various countries including Australia and Japan, a move that prompted some influencers to speak out about the potentially damaging effect it could have on their livelihoods.
“What about the people using it for income?” tweeted one person.
“The people who work hard creating content, to then have their hard work not praised/not shown how successful it was to others?? Instead the app ruins the quality and doesn’t show the posts to 90 per cent of followers?”
Another concurred: “I get where y’all coming from but this is not a good idea. People have worked hard to get where they are and to the amount of engagement they have. Taking it away gives everything less value. How would brands know who to sponsor, etc? This will mess up ALOT of businesses! [sic].”
Mosseri did not confirm in the interview whether or not Instagram would be permanently rolling out the like count ban, nor did he say if the feature would be trialled in other countries.
He did, however, discuss how Instagram is implementing new measures to combat some of the negative sides to the platform, such as bullying, but that there is only so much they can do to control what happens on the app.
“I think that we on social media [and those] who work in social media, I’m sure have a part to play in the anxiety and the pressure that people, in particular, young people feel," he said.
“I also want to make sure that we are honest about the fact that given our scales, there's going to be some good and there’s going to be some bad that happens on our platform.”
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