Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand have now joined Canada in “like-less” Instagram.
Although the change is relatively minor for some, it is major for others. Instead of telling the public how many “likes” a post gets, it now only tells the account owner. Non-owners can still tap on “liked by others” and see a breakdown of likes, but totals would have to be counted manually.
According to a Facebook spokesperson, Instagram launched the like-less environment to improve mental health and “remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive,” allowing users to share “authentically and comfortably” on the site. Back in April, Instagram explained its move as a potential strategy to combat social media-related anxiety, online bullying and the pressure to rack up likes.
Instagram isn’t the only tech company looking to back away from “likes”. VSCO, an Instagram competitor doesn’t display likes, Pinterest did away with its “likes” in 2017, and even Apple, Facebook, and Google are looking at ways to reduce screen time to promote better mental health. Nick Cicero, VP of strategy at real-time video intelligence platform Conviva, says, “I think [hiding likes] is going to provide more value to folks creating content, and consumers are going to be able to get more meaningful interactions. Hopefully this starts to deter the business of selling fake influence.”
While like-sellers’ offerings vary, most range from one time purchases for a set number of likes to an expansive monthly package that includes much more. Forbes reported in 2015 that the going rate for 500 likes was $35. Many sellers now offer that same amount for less than $5.