Question: is hiding likes on Instagram a good idea?


Hey internet. Right now, it’s Monday morning here on the East coast of the United States, and I’m enjoying a bowl of Pumpkin Oatmeal with a cup of Starbucks’ Breakfast Blend coffee. It’s a pretty great combination. I’m also remembering our veterans today who paid the ultimate price and made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our great country safe. None of us would be here without them, and on behalf of my readers and I, thank you to all the vets reading this article for your great service to this country.

Okay, time for tech!

A little inside baseball: I didn’t have an article planned for this morning. All weekend, I had no time to write virtually anything, so I figured I’d get up early this morning and see what I could pump out. Then, I realized that I’ve had this persistent question in the back of my mind that needs answering: is hiding likes in Instagram actually a good idea?

I say that because a few days ago, Instagram announced it would begin hiding likes in the U.S. this week. That means pictures and videos posted to the platform will no longer display the amount of likes they’ve gotten, and instead, give you the option to simply see who liked the post.

They’ve been testing this feature in some places around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Italy, and Canada. A study that was recently published (via SocialMediaToday) shows the average amount of likes influencers received went noticeably down in a majority of the locations where Instagram is testing the change. The only country that saw more average likes per post for influencers was Japan where those with between 1,000 – 5,000 and 100,000 – 1,000,000 followers saw a bump in likes.

But getting more likes isn’t exactly the reason for the change. It’s more to remove the distraction of counting likes so users can focus on what content they’re uploading to the platform. People tend to get caught up in the amount of likes their accounts receive, and it can certainly cause a creative block for those who just wanna produce content that people will tap “like” on.

Then again, hiding the number of likes you receive can be hurtful to one’s business mode, especially influencers who make brand deals based on their Instagram account metrics such as authentic likes. By hiding the amount of likes your photos get, the only public-facing metric brands can look at is your follower count, and who’s to say you didn’t pay some shifty service for a few fake follows here and there to bump the number up?

Granted, I have yet to see likes disappear from my feed so I don’t really have an opinion on whether it’s a good idea or not. But I can’t help asking that question over and over again. We don’t know if this change will improve the quality and increase the amount of content shared to Instagram, and we don’t yet know how significant the change will be for influencers. After this week wraps up and likes have been hidden for at least a few users, we’ll have some sort of impression on the feature change, for better or for worse.

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