Instagram has begun testing the removal of visible likes on its platform to combat growing “social media addiction” and user’s reliance on likes as a sign of success.
Senior Delia Lin, who shares her art on her Instagram “explode.in.colors” with a following of more than 4,000 people, feels removing likes is an improvement.
“This is a positive step in making Instagram have better connection. We don’t have the sharing aspect anymore. I remember when I first started using the app, 60 likes was a lot of likes. Now it’s like 300. If you don’t get enough likes, there’s a pressure to take it down or repost it at the perfect time. You have this limit as to when you can post, and a limit on your creative freedom,” Lin said.
Although Lin supports removing likes, many social media creators rely on likes to track their success and influence. This is why Instagram is receiving backlash for the change.
“We understand that the number of likes is an important metric for many creators, and while this test is in exploratory stages, we are thinking through ways for creators to communicate value to their partners,” said a Facebook spokesperson on CNN.
Social media has become a pillar in teenage life, and ELHS is anticipating changes on the popular platform.
“Likes cause problems. I think its another popularity contest. It’s another way for people to feel left out,” she said. “Feel free to create and share your content. You don’t need to feel validated by having people like it.”
Senior Jammil Garcia agrees that if someone isn’t as popular on social media, their self esteem could decrease. Although social media is supposed to be enjoyable, it could become toxic because of this.
“A lot of people focus on the number of likes, and they think the quantity will automatically equate to their popularity and if they don’t meet their personal quota they feel inferior. It’s just another online number,” Garcia said.
A poll done on Instagram of ELHS kids showed a 50 percent split opinion with 30 votes for and against removing likes after 4 hours.
Senior Sammi Todaro, who voted removing likes would be bad, thinks removing likes defeats the purpose of Instagram.
“I like seeing what my friends have liked,” Todaro said.
Some may miss the likes, and others may embrace the new content-oriented platform, but change is on the horizon.