Instagram Experiments with Helping Users’ Self-Esteem by Hiding ‘Likes’

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The quest for more post engagements and its effect on the self-esteem of Instagram users has not gone unnoticed by the platform. Instagram is thinking about removing the ability to see how many likes others get on their pictures. The idea is in experimental phases and is being tested on Canadian users.

Instagram’s goal is to lessen the effect of comparisons on social media, so users aren’t able to use numbers to judge their own popularity, according to a press release.

People have become so obsessed with likes that many no longer focus on the message and this has led to users comparing themselves to accounts with higher engagements.

A study by the American Psychological Association found that self-esteem lowers with social media usage. It is impacted even more when users compare themselves to accounts with higher engagement.

A research organisation called Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development thinks Instagram should take even more steps to eradicate the negative effects of social media by eliminating the ability to see how many likes one’s own pictures received.

“Instagram should follow through with the issue that they identified when they announced this initiative and say: ‘We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get,’” said JAMA Pediatrics editor-in-chief Dimitri A. Christakis in a press release.

The change would affect how users engage with the platform. It is unclear when a decision will be made following the test in Canada.

While I think this change will truly have a positive effect on users’ self-esteem, as there will less comparison with others, and people will be more confident to post on Instagram without worrying so much about the number of likes they get (since they’re the only ones who see it), I also think same rules shouldn’t be applied to businesses on the platform.
A lot of people use Instagram for business purposes. Stats show that there are more than 8 million business accounts on Instagram. I think it’s important for customers to see the level of attention and engagements businesses get on Instagram, as this has an effect on their buying decisions.

When you’re in a market, you sure want to have as much insight as possible about the businesses you choose to patronise.

For Instagram marketers who promise heaven on earth in helping customers grow their accounts or get more engagement on their posts, it’s important for potential customers to know how much engagement they get on their own Instagram posts too, isn’t it? If they’ve not been able to do it for themselves, how can they do it for others? After all, everyone wants to get value back for their money.

Also, one way businesses differentiate themselves from competitors on Instagram, is in the level of engagement they’re able to generate on their posts. It’s easy for a potential customer to choose between competing brands, judging by engagement levels.

So, while I think this change will be good for individuals who use Instagram to connect with their friends, I don’t think the same rules should be applied to businesses on the platform.

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