Will 2022 Be The Death of Instagram Likes, Once and For All?
  • Social Tips

Instagram Likes are a way that Instagram users can show their interest and approval for content and for a long time, the number of likes as well as comments on a post was how the popularity of it was measured.

In recent years however, Instagram has been testing a like-free Instagram for select users across the world in an attempt to make Instagram a “safer place on the internet”. By eliminating the “number of likes = popularity” ratio that has become so popular in Instagram culture, Instagram hopes that users will enjoy their time on the platform more without having to feel scrutinised if they didn’t get the same amount of likes as others.

We’re going to be exploring whether 2022 will be the death of Instagram likes once and for all as Instagram narrows in on finalising their choice to hide likes for all Instagram users.

  • Social Tips

The Popularity of Likes On Social Media

Likes, whether it be on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or TikTok are a form of communication which allow us to signal to others that we think a post, content, review or product is useful to us or that we simply like it.

This form of social validation with the click of a button has become very addictive to many social media users; both giving and getting likes is for most of us, an organic part of our daily lives.

We all love to post something on Instagram and wait for that wave of notifications that people are liking your post to flood in.

This universal feeling of needing lots of likes on Instagram is mainly because likes have now become a tool used to portray acceptance, validation and – if you don’t get many – rejection.

While many people will tell you that likes mean nothing, there are still an overwhelming number of social media users that will delete their posts if they don’t perform well, because a post that doesn’t have loads of likes in turn doesn’t have that acceptance and validation which likes provide.

Deleting an entire post based on how your audience received it only emphasises the growing power that strangers’ likes have on a majority of society and influencers, and raises questions about how Instagram likes and the perceptions of others through likes can affect mental health.

The Removal of Instagram Likes and Why

Now that we know how popular Instagram’s likes are we’re left asking why Instagram would want to hide likes for users, when the likes are such a huge part of why people post on the platform. The answer to this is simple, Instagram started becoming more aware of growing questions about the effects of social media on mental health and in April 2019 Instagram announced that it would test a feed without likes.

The majority of Instagram users are teens and adults, and for many of these people the impact of the like button can have tremendous personal impact. In fact, many studies have shown that when young people receive less engagement on their posts than others, their mental health takes a blow, and they become more emotionally distressed. The way hiding likes would work is the person who created the post would be able to see the number of likes on their own post, but those numbers would be hidden to other users.

Instagram’s intentions with this new like-less feature were to improve the social attitude on the platform, by hiding the number of likes that others get, the importance of the number of likes you get in comparison would start to diminish. Essentially, if the number of likes you get equals how accepted and valid you feel in comparison to someone who gets lots of likes, then by getting rid of the numbers, likes won’t be able to determine someone’s social importance or impact their mental health anymore.

This was definitely an action that marked a huge shift in tone on social media, because it showed that Instagram did see the impact of their platform on their users’ mental health and took action to put it right.

Should you be trying to get more likes?

In a time where there’s a lingering possibility of hidden likes becoming permanent on Instagram, it’s reasonable to wonder if you should still be trying to get more likes. Well, after more than two years of testing the feature Instagram announced in May 2021 that what it found was that removing likes doesn’t seem to meaningfully depressurize Instagram for young people or otherwise, so likes will remain publicly viewable by default.

Instead, as of 2021 Instagram made it possible for users to choose whether they want to see the number of likes on other people’s posts or not, by toggling on or off the “likes count” in settings. Now, instead of hidden likes being a universal feature across all users’ pages it’s a choice we can each make whether we want to see other people’s like counts or not!

Therefore, it may be worth still giving your posts some effort and attention as some users will still be able to see the likes on your brand’s Instagram posts and it could definitely impact how they view your content!

No matter how we like to look at it and argue against it, likes will continue to be a way that success and validation is measured on social media and there’s little we can do about it – apart from turning on that nifty little “hide likes count” button!

Do you think Instagram should do away with vanity metrics, or are they good for business to show legitimacy? Want to learn more about growing your Instagram account? Get in touch with Monty today!

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