Instagram wants to ‘depressurize’ social media by hiding likes. Here’s what that might look like
Beginning this week, the social media platform will begin testing hiding likes from users in the U.S. in an attempt to make Instagram safer for younger users, according to CEO Adam Mosseri
Instagram will begin hiding “like” counts from some American users starting this week in an attempt to make the social media platform a “safer” online space, Wired reported.
CEO Adam Mosseri made the announcement at the Wired 25 conference on Friday.
WATCH: Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announces that the platform will start hiding likes for US audiences starting next week. It's the latest step in Instagram’s quest to become the safest place on the internet. https://t.co/BGkMG57rdk #WIRED25 pic.twitter.com/WNTyAPVhaD— WIRED (@WIRED) November 9, 2019
Here’s what this could mean for Instagram users, and why the platform believes it will benefit young people.
What it will look like
The new system will hide both likes and video view counts from users as they scroll through their feed. However, users will still be able to see these counts for their own posts, according to NPR.
Instagram began testing this feature in several countries earlier this year, and tweeted an image of how an Instagram post would look without visible likes.
The feature is currently in a testing phase in the U.S. but will begin this week, which means that not all Instagram users will experience it immediately, according to Wired.
Instagram: This will make the platform safer
Instagram wants to become “the safest place on the internet,” according to Wired.
“It’s about young people,” Mosseri said at the Wired 25 conference, according to NPR. “The idea is to try to ‘depressurize’ Instagram, make it less of a competition and give people more space to focus on connecting with people that they love, things that inspire them.”
Mosseri added, “It means we’re going to put a 15-year-old kid’s interests before a public speaker’s interest,” according to Wired.
Instagram is also working with therapists and other experts to find ways to prevent bullying on the platform and other behaviors that are detrimental to mental health, Wired reported.
Backlash to the announcement
Some social media influencers and celebrities have spoken out against the new policy, Business Insider reported.
Influencers have claimed that hiding likes will make it more difficult for them to get sponsored content or brand deals, according to Business Insider.
Celebrities like Nicki Minaj and Cardi B have also weighed in on the debate.
Minaj tweeted on Saturday that she plans to stop using Instagram after the new feature goes into effect.
I’m not posting on IG after this week cuz they removing the likes. Hmmmm what should I get into now? Think of all the time I’ll have with my new life— Nicki Minaj (@NICKIMINAJ) November 9, 2019
Cardi B, meanwhile, claims that removing likes from Instagram is the wrong solution, saying “comments affect more than the likes,” according to Business Insider.
Support for the new policy
However, not all celebrities are opposed to the new feature.
Kim Kardashian West recently spoke out in favor of the change.
“As far as mental health … I think taking the likes away and taking that aspect away from (Instagram) would be really beneficial for people,” West told People magazine.
West added that concerns for her children led her to be supportive of the new Instagram feature.
“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,” West told People. “I struggle with having to step outside of how I feel and thinking about, ‘What if one of my children was like one of my friends who wasn’t as mentally strong and would really be affected by the comments?’ That would really affect me.”
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has also expressed his support for the move, retweeting Mosseri’s announcement and adding, “Great step.”
Although Twitter claims that it does not have any current plans to remove the like button from its platform, the organization said it is part of a “healthy conversation,” according to Business Insider.