Instagram officially began an experiment in Canada 2 months ago that hides the like-count on posts. Would there be less unhealthy competition and jealousy if you weren’t able to access information about your friends and followers likes? The idea, pushed by app head Adam Mosseri follows after a similar redesign of the profile to make the follower count much less dominant. While numbers are still important they will become a less prominent focus, if you want to ensure you still have those followers you can always opt to buy high quality followers. You may have noticed where before you would see the total number of likes, the total number is no longer displayed. Now you will see the names of one or two followers followed by “others” as opposed to the actual number.
The posts creator will still be able to see who has liked the post by opening the like window, where they will see a list of everyone who has liked the photo. The like totals although hidden would still be taken into account and affect how the algorithm ranks a post in the general feed, but if it were to be rolled out globally it would change the whole focus of Instagram. Removing the like count for others to see Instagram’s hope is that the focus would shift and people would focus more on self expression rather than fretting about their competition. Users may also be less likely to remove less liked photos and post more “imperfect” or “real” images.
Instagram released a statement to TechCrunch stating that “We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.” The big worry for some Influencers is that they often show their worth to brands by sending a screenshot of their like numbers on posts, Instagram is still exploring this issue and thinking about how they can still provide this option to users that rely on being able to access these stats.
TechCrunch were first to report the subtle new feature after a user spotted the new format, the company confirmed that they were in the process of building in the new likes feature although they had not yet put it to the test on a global level. Although users were initially shocked by the decision, many agreed that they thought it would be a great way to combat posting anxiety and toxicity that surrounds the competition between users and that many have reported to experience even on a daily posting basis.
In 2013 a study by Krasnova et al. uncovered that 20% of envy-causing situations that studies of the experiment experienced had some link to use of Facebook. Also confirming that Facebook contributes to toxic envy. “Intensity of passive following is likely to reduce users’ life satisfaction in the long run, as it triggers upward social comparison and invidious emotions.” Instagram with its focus on imagery and preening could be even more detrimental and the release of this new option may be key in combating the problem which many users experience daily.
Stopping bullying in its tracks
At Facebook’s F8 conference Mosseri explained that not only does Instagram want to stop bullying but also take steps to prevent it occurring in the first place and lead an example for other platforms. Announcing a range of new tests that hope to remove toxic and hateful use in the app.
New features include the option to Manage interactions – this will allow users to regulate how certain users can interact with them without having to go as far as to block them. This means that you can remove the option for them to comment but allow them still to like posts, or allow them to see your photos but turn off the option to DM.
Away mode – this will allow users to maintain their account active without having to delete it at high stress times in their life such as the run up to exams but without the need to worry about constant notifications and distractions.
Nudge – probably one of the most intelligent additions is the nudge feature that will warn users if they are about to comment something that may be seen as insensitive or offensive. This test comes short of censoring but still aims to address bullying before it occurs.
More features presented at the F8 convention include changes to stories, With a continual growth in popularity new features for Stories was a must;
New create and camera mode, although the details still remain somewhat vague the initial images for the new camera have the options for live, camera, and create (texts and stickers). The filters will be accessed through a semi-circular dial that can be spun to find the desired effect or filter which will be simultaneously applied to the camera to allow shooting directly with the filters applied.
Donation stickers are one of the newer features that have initially been launched in the US, these stickers can be added to stories and allow a direct fund raising opportunity that you can share with your followers. To use this feature simply snap your photo, tap on the fundraiser icon and choose a non-profit to begin. Once it goes live you can swipe up on your story to see a live count of how much you have raised. 100% of the funds go to the non-profit.
Another new and innovative feature is the shopping from creators feature. This will allow creators and businesses accounts to directly link in a similar fashion to tagging. You will be able to click directly on the photo to reveal shopping hotspots that can be clicked on. Clicking on a shopping hotspot will lead you to the corresponding website for that product where you will be able to browse, find out more or make a purchase.