Instagram likes are back! Instagram users are able to choose whether to hide likes on their own posts as well as other users' posts that they interact with. Australia was one country where Instagram trialed removing likes, but the update to now give users the option to hide likes will be effective globally. This update gives a sense of control back to the user, allowing individuals to choose how they experience the app.
#1 How To Hide Your Instagram Likes
To hide the like count on your own content, you have to individually turn off likes for each of your posts. To do this, click the three little dots in the top right-hand corner of your post and select ‘Hide Like Count’.
#2 How To Hide Other Users Likes
To turn off likes on other people's posts, simply open your Instagram app, go to Settings —> Privacy and under ‘Likes and Views’ switch on ‘Hide Like and View Counts’.
How This Affects The Platform
The ability to show and hide Instagram likes gives users a choice of how they experience the platform. By giving users a choice, they are not only increasing the app's customisability, but also giving them a sense of control. Being able to show and hide likes at any time may improve the wellbeing of users who find the constant comparison of metrics such as likes to be overwhelming.
Other pros to hiding Instagram likes are a higher focus on quality of content and a greater sense of community through other forms of interaction such as comments, saves and direct messages. On the other hand, people may want to keep their Instagram likes enabled to have a better indication of trends through likeable content and to place less emphasis on follower count.
How This Affects The Marketing Industry
Allowing users to hide their own and other users' like counts could affect what content is perceived as popular or trending, and how these trends spread throughout the platform. Some argue that turning off Instagram likes removes valuable insights, but for professional marketers, this isn't so much of a problem as there are ways around gaining access to insights beyond simply looking at a user's account.
Since Instagram removed likes in 2019, we have seen a shift towards more meaningful interactions such as comments and savable content. Now that users have the option to show or hide likes, it will be interesting to see how this choice continues to affect engagement, as well as the wider influencer industry that relies on likes and user interaction to derive revenue.
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