BY STAFF 2 MINUTE READ

In a bold move, Instagram is currently testing a new feature that hides post likes in seven countries across the globe. The new feature allows users to see who liked their own posts, but no-one else will be able to. But is the world ready for this?

It begs the question whether social media platforms are turning a corner and forcing brands to pay attention
to metrics that matter instead of vanity metrics when it comes to choosing
influencers for their campaigns. In a Twitter thread,
Instagram said that they want users to focus on the quality of photos and videos posted, not the
number of likes. Basically, circling back to more authentic content.

According to marketing strategy consultancy, Nfluential, many users
are worried about influencer jobs hanging in the balance with this new move,
when in reality it would be great for brands and influencers alike. Brands have
measured influence with popularity for far too long and finally they’ll now be
forced to consider the metrics that really matter – engagement and impressions.

Hiding likes will help curb the
proliferation of influencer fraud on Instagram, whereby users buy followers and
likes in order to appear more influential than what they are. If likes are
hidden, there will be no need for this.

If this feature is here to stay,
the popular influencers with little to no influence will no longer get booked
by big brands purely because they get thousands of likes, but rather those
with resonance, authenticity with real content will rise to the top. Quality
engagement will become hugely important, although it already should be.

Over the last year or so we’ve
already seen a shift from portraying ‘perfect’ lives to being more open about
real life on Instagram. Users are hungry for content that they can relate to as opposed to being constantly bombarded with curated versions of people’s picture-perfect lives. Maybe this is the next step to a healthier and more
relatable social media platform.

It’s also a great move in terms
of mental health for the youth. So often we hear about the distress caused by not getting enough likes. Some users even delete content, feeling that it’s not good
enough when they don’t get the outside validation through likes. It may sound
trivial to us, but teenagers are impressionable and something as small as social media validation could, and
has, tipped many over the edge. By hiding likes, no-one will have a benchmark to
feeling good enough.

The test has been rolled out in Australia, Brazil, Canada, IrelandItaly, Japan and New Zealand. While the announcement brought
out mixed reactions, there is still one question on everyone’s lips: When will Instagram
bring back chronological order? It seems that everyone, including me, would like
to see the posts of those who they follow, in a sequential way, rather than the
hordes of sponsored posts. Will they listen to their users? Only time will
tell.