What the Removal of “Likes” on Instagram Means for the Platform and its Users


Courtesy of RISMedia

Martina Frasca, Staff Writer

Instagram has recently removed the total number of Instagram likes on some of its user’s platforms. After months of hiding likes in selected international markets such as Canada, Ireland and Brazil, Instagram is doing the same in the U.S.

Owners of Instagram accounts will still be able to see who “liked” their photos, but the total number of likes from others will disappear from their main feed and profile pages. Instead of showing the total number of Instagram likes, users will be shown the name of an account that liked a post, followed by the words “and others.”

Instagram hopes that this change will improve its users’ well-being; one study found that it’s the social networking platform that hurts the mental health of young people the most.

Students at William Paterson shared their opinion on whether they think the change will improve mental health.

“I don’t think it’s going to help mental health,” said Isabelle Thomas, a music education major. “I think it will make people more anxious to know their likes. I think social media will never be a good thing for mental health.”

Tanasia Weaver, Secondary Education and English major, thought differently.

“I think it’s a great idea, especially for kids in middle school and high school, because it will decrease bullying,” Weaver said. “I feel like kids focus a lot on Instagram likes and it determines if you’re ‘popular’ at school.”

Weaver also said that removing likes will make kids feel more comfortable posting what they want to.

“It will help mental health because people will spend less time on their phones,” she said. “It will definitely get rid of the competition and will have a positive effect.”

“I think Instagram is a fun way to capture moments and share with close friends,” said Breanna Guyton, a communication major. “For me personally, likes aren’t important. I really don’t concern myself with how many likes or views I get. I think [other] people get carried away with likes. It’s like they get some type of approval with how many likes they get on a picture.”

While some Instagram users use the social media platform for fun, those who make a profit off of it might be worse off. Influencers, for example, make money by promoting products or companies through their posts.

Likes are a way for companies interested in working with social media influencers to measure their popularity, examine the size of their audience and keep track of how many users are engaging with them.

This means companies may become unmotivated to maintain or create new advertising partnerships with influencers.