Social Media

Instagram is Hiding Likes

Delaney Ruston, MD
January 7, 2020
instagram page

Thanksgiving evening I was sitting around with family in Berkeley as we cooked and talked. Phil, my cousin-in-law, all of a sudden said, “Hey, I just got this message” and he showed his phone to us. It said that when he posts things on Instagram, people could still give it a like, but people would only see that the post got a like, it would not show how many likes it got.

The amazing thing is that all posts in his feeds, his posts and everyone else’s, only showed that likes were given to a post, but not the number of likes.

When he opened his post, it still says at the top how many likes it had, but only he could do that.

instagram message page

My eyes immediately lit up. I knew and had written about how Instagram was hiding likes in other countries but had not heard about it in the US. It quickly made me think of my son, who during his gap year before college was often talking about how cool it would be to make a social media platform all about fostering positive connections, getting rid of likes and doing other things to promote a more positive social media experience.

Maybe Instagram is really going to do this. Last Spring, the company began hiding likes in several countries including Canada, Brazil, Australia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. This month, they brought the disappearing likes to a small number of US users, including Phil.  

“Our interest in hiding likes really is just to depressurize Instagram for young people,” Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said in Business Insider earlier this month.

“It all comes down to making Instagram a safe and healthy place to spend time online, which is important for everyone’s mental health, but particularly Gen Z,” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, said at F8 earlier this year. “We want people to be less interested in how many likes a post gets, and focus more on connecting with other people.”

You will still be able to see likes on your posts just not everyone else’s, eliminating the “is theirs better than mine” comparisons that happen.

Right now, this is being tested with select groups with plans to roll out to more. That is why my cousin-in-law Phil had his Instagram changed. He was not asked beforehand and he could not have asked for it. It is random (or not random) who knows, but it was done all of a sudden on his account. He is indeed a beta tester now.

Many celebrity influencers responded positively to the change. Cardi B said removing likes is a step in the right direction but added that the comments section is often more damaging than the number of likes. “This is just my opinion… I mean what makes you feel more insecure getting no likes or people constantly giving opinions about you, your life, your topics?” she said in an early November post.

Kim Kardashian West agrees that taking away Instagram likes could be beneficial for our mental health. Attending the New York Times‘ DealBook Conference, Kim said: “As far as mental health, I think taking the likes away and taking that aspect away from [Instagram] would be really beneficial for people. I find myself to be extremely mentally strong and I have people who are obsessed with the comments, and I find that to be really unhealthy.”

While the feedback from early testing has been positive, this is a fundamental change to Instagram,” Instagram’s PR department said to us in an email. “We’re continuing our test to learn more from our global community.” They told us that Facebook is also testing hiding likes on a smaller scale.

For this Tech Talk Tuesday, talk to your kids and teenagers about this. See if likes, or the lack thereof, truly matter to them. Or, are the comments where they feel the emotional hits?

Here are some questions to get you started:

  • How important are “likes” on your IG feed (or if your kids don’t have IG, likes they see on any youtube video)?
  • What about IG makes you feel good or bad?
  • What do you think about IG’s experiment to hide likes? Do you predict they will, in the end, adopt this new way or not?
  • Do you think they could do more to help combat negative emotions that are evoked at times by social media?

If you want to host a screening of the movie in your community, please fill out this form.

Take a look here to see if there’s a screening near you.

*We would love for you to share this TTT any way that works for you, whether that’s on social media or via a newsletter. If you want to send it out in your newsletter we just ask that you credit us and link to our website, and let us know at lisa@screenagersmovie.com.

Stay in touch with the Screenagers community on Facebook, Twitter and leave comments below.

January 7, 2020


As well as our weekly blog, we publish videos like this one every week on the Screenagers YouTube channel

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Social Media

Instagram is Hiding Likes

Delaney Ruston, MD
January 7, 2020
instagram page

Thanksgiving evening I was sitting around with family in Berkeley as we cooked and talked. Phil, my cousin-in-law, all of a sudden said, “Hey, I just got this message” and he showed his phone to us. It said that when he posts things on Instagram, people could still give it a like, but people would only see that the post got a like, it would not show how many likes it got.

The amazing thing is that all posts in his feeds, his posts and everyone else’s, only showed that likes were given to a post, but not the number of likes.

When he opened his post, it still says at the top how many likes it had, but only he could do that.

instagram message page

My eyes immediately lit up. I knew and had written about how Instagram was hiding likes in other countries but had not heard about it in the US. It quickly made me think of my son, who during his gap year before college was often talking about how cool it would be to make a social media platform all about fostering positive connections, getting rid of likes and doing other things to promote a more positive social media experience.

Maybe Instagram is really going to do this. Last Spring, the company began hiding likes in several countries including Canada, Brazil, Australia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. This month, they brought the disappearing likes to a small number of US users, including Phil.  

“Our interest in hiding likes really is just to depressurize Instagram for young people,” Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said in Business Insider earlier this month.

“It all comes down to making Instagram a safe and healthy place to spend time online, which is important for everyone’s mental health, but particularly Gen Z,” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, said at F8 earlier this year. “We want people to be less interested in how many likes a post gets, and focus more on connecting with other people.”

You will still be able to see likes on your posts just not everyone else’s, eliminating the “is theirs better than mine” comparisons that happen.

Right now, this is being tested with select groups with plans to roll out to more. That is why my cousin-in-law Phil had his Instagram changed. He was not asked beforehand and he could not have asked for it. It is random (or not random) who knows, but it was done all of a sudden on his account. He is indeed a beta tester now.

Many celebrity influencers responded positively to the change. Cardi B said removing likes is a step in the right direction but added that the comments section is often more damaging than the number of likes. “This is just my opinion… I mean what makes you feel more insecure getting no likes or people constantly giving opinions about you, your life, your topics?” she said in an early November post.

Kim Kardashian West agrees that taking away Instagram likes could be beneficial for our mental health. Attending the New York Times‘ DealBook Conference, Kim said: “As far as mental health, I think taking the likes away and taking that aspect away from [Instagram] would be really beneficial for people. I find myself to be extremely mentally strong and I have people who are obsessed with the comments, and I find that to be really unhealthy.”

While the feedback from early testing has been positive, this is a fundamental change to Instagram,” Instagram’s PR department said to us in an email. “We’re continuing our test to learn more from our global community.” They told us that Facebook is also testing hiding likes on a smaller scale.

For this Tech Talk Tuesday, talk to your kids and teenagers about this. See if likes, or the lack thereof, truly matter to them. Or, are the comments where they feel the emotional hits?

Here are some questions to get you started:

  • How important are “likes” on your IG feed (or if your kids don’t have IG, likes they see on any youtube video)?
  • What about IG makes you feel good or bad?
  • What do you think about IG’s experiment to hide likes? Do you predict they will, in the end, adopt this new way or not?
  • Do you think they could do more to help combat negative emotions that are evoked at times by social media?

If you want to host a screening of the movie in your community, please fill out this form.

Take a look here to see if there’s a screening near you.

*We would love for you to share this TTT any way that works for you, whether that’s on social media or via a newsletter. If you want to send it out in your newsletter we just ask that you credit us and link to our website, and let us know at lisa@screenagersmovie.com.

Stay in touch with the Screenagers community on Facebook, Twitter and leave comments below.

January 7, 2020


As well as our weekly blog, we publish videos like this one every week on the Screenagers YouTube channel

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