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Instagram Starts Removing Likes From User Accounts

Social Media Platforms

After trialling the removal of visible like counts in a select number of countries, Instagram is moving ahead with a global rollout.  According to Instagram’s Twitter account the decision to remove visible likes has been made so that users can “focus on the photo and videos you share, not how many likes they get”.


Why are Instagram disabling ‘likes’?


Mia Garlick, Facebook’s director of policy for Australia and New Zealand where early trial have been run, has previously said the following of their decision to remove likes from Instagram: ‘the move is designed to shift the focus away from making Instagram feel ‘like a competition’ where users compete to see how many likes they can rack up. We want Instagram to be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves’.


Clearly this has been of great concern to the influencer and social advertising communities, Instagram have at least acknowledged this, in a further announcements they stated “In addition, we understand that like counts are important for many creators, and we are actively thinking through ways for creators to communicate value to their partners”.


Facebook/Instagram’s true motivation for this shift in policy has been met with suspicion amongst many of its users, Facebook is no stranger to controversy itself and many are asking why, if Facebook is so concerned about its users mental health, has it been so resistant to deploying similar changes on its own platform.


Whatever the reason for the change, what is certain is that it is happening, so what does this mean in real terms for the influencer community?


Who will be able to see my Instagram ‘likes’?


The likes count for each post will no longer be publicly visible, removing the ability for advertisers to assess your account by this metric.  You will still be able to see your own likes but simply providing screenshots to potential advertisers is unlikely to be sufficient as it would be relatively trivial to manipulate the figures.


However it seems that 3rd party services will still be able to retrieve this data via Instagram’s API, and here at SuperSocialClub we think this is likely to become the defacto way for advertisers to gauge how popular an account is when on the look out for influencers and content creators to partner with.


How will influencers be affected by removal of Instagram ‘likes’?


Many think the shift is also likely to move focus away from likes, which are admittedly easy to ‘game’, to other metrics such shares, saves, sales and community building.  This could help push the profiles of content creators that generate real engagement and producing quality content.


Either Facebook genuinely cares about it’s users mental health and the quality of the content posted to Instagram, or it has had enough of seeing its content creators raking in the advertising dollars and is  making serous moves to take a slice of the pie.  Whatever the case, influencers and content creators need be prepared for the change and be sure to make necessary changes to relevant to advertisers.

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