Instagram has evolved into its own cultural phenomenon that has crept into every corner of the world. For as long as businesses have been around, people have used branding to their benefit, but never on this global of a scale. Instagram can make or break someone's career, it can expose their darkest secrets to an international audience in a matter of seconds, and for years it's been how millions have measured their self-worth and popularity by likes and views.

Recognizing that the addictive social media platform has its negative effects, especially regarding mental health and emotional security, Instagram executives are trying something different. There have been a number of updates and changes for their millions of users, but nothing quite like what they may have coming soon. At Facebook's "F8 Conference" earlier today, a spokesperson said that the company is beta testing hiding likes from the public—and they're beginning next week.


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"We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get," an Instagram spokesperson told Techcrunch. "[...] We understand that this is important for many creators, and while this test is in exploratory stages, we are thinking through ways for them to communicate value to their brand partners." Those who are still addicted to their "likes" numbers need not worry; hiding the amount of "likes"won't affect the algorithm.

However, may social media influencers use Instagram to rake in the dough. Companies measure their desirability based on the number of likes they receive, and if those aren't viewable to the public, then thousands may need to think about sprucing up their resumés. “We understand that this is important for many creators, and while this test is in exploratory stages, we are thinking through ways for them to communicate value to their brand partners,” the spokesperson stated.


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Instagram will begin testing in Canada because "Canadians are highly social and tech-savvy, with over 24 million people connecting across our family of apps each month. We wanted to test this with a digitally savvy audience that has a thriving community on Instagram,” a company spokesperson explained to Tech Crunch. 

The company also wants to lead the fight against internet bullying by rolling out some new features that include (as defined by Tech Crunch):

  • A new “nudge” feature will warn users if they’re about to comment something hurtful. The test stops short of censorship while still addressing bullying before it happens.
  • “Away Mode” will encourage users to take a break from Instagram at intense times in their life, like moving to a new school. They don’t have to delete their account, but can still get a break from constant notifications and concerns about how they look.
  • “Manage Interactions” will allow users to set limits on how certain people interact with them without having to block them completely. Maybe you don’t want someone to be able to comment on your posts, but still Like them. Or you’re cool with them seeing your photos but don’t want to get DMs from them.

Do you think it's a good move for Instagram to remove "likes" from their platform?