Instagram Hiding Likes Is Bad News for Us All

Since its inception in 2010, Instagram has helped change the landscape of the photographic industry. But recent changes haven’t come as good news for some.

Instagram is one of the hottest topics in the world of photography. Not just right now, but always. Some love it and some hate it. But as polarizing as it is, it remains one of the most popular photo-sharing sites in the world. Recent changes have pushed the app to the forefront of media attention, as the decision has been made to hide how many likes a photo receives. Many welcome the move; personally speaking, I think it’s a terrible idea.

What Has Instagram Changed?

It all started in Canada. Two months ago, Instagram rolled out the idea of hiding the number of likes a post receives. So, people who follow the account can no longer see the level of engagement a photo gets by looking at the number of people who liked it. Since the start of the rollout, Instagram has now introduced it into the following countries, with the view that there will be a global rollout eventually.

Supporters of the move say it will bring it back to the basics – a platform for good photography, not fame. They also suggested it will provide a good “mental health” break for those who become too emotionally and mentally dependent on the amount of engagement a post receives.

Let’s look at the former point first. The option to use the platform for good photography has always been there. Since day one, we have had complete control over who we follow and what style and quality of photography we see. Sure, the unwanted advertisement comes up, but these won’t be going away because of the new approach to likes. So, if a person feels they see under-par images on their feed, they should unfollow the account. Then there’s the quantity over quality argument. Many believe some accounts are successful because people think they should like them. That’s nothing new. Some people are sheep, and some people are not; regardless of the platform, that will never change. And some of the more popular accounts deserve the high engagement they receive.

“The everyday person is celebrating this and that’s the worst thing ever.”

For the latter point, well, this change doesn’t support the mental health issues relating to social media. While others can’t see the number of likes, the owner of the account still can. So if there’s a dependency issue, this isn’t going to solve it. More so, it is not the responsibility of Instagram to babysit us. They offer us a product, and it is our choice whether or not that product is right for us. While I empathize with the physiological consequences social media brings (I’ve suffered them myself), I firmly believe it’s our responsibility to overcome and manage them – not big corp’s.

Stop Hating Influencers

The hate for Instagram influencers has grown and grown over the years. If you read any article that reports the tragic death of one, scroll to the comments, and you’ll soon understand the level of hatred people have for them. They see this move by Instagram as another knife in the back of those ripped f*ck boys and ‘stick your booty out as far as possible’ girls who have become synonymous with social popularity. Here’s why:

“Every action Instagram takes relates to money; it’s a business after all.”

If a brand wants its product to be widely seen, they approach popular Instagram accounts and pay the owner for a feature. They prioritize the level of engagement over the number of followers an account has. So the more likes they can see an account gets, the more likely they are to approach them with a business proposition. Hiding the likes makes this approach problematic and may result in users missing out on opportunities to earn an income. The everyday person is celebrating this, and that’s the worst thing ever.

Let’s remember for a moment: influencers are not from another planet. They’re people, just like you and me. They capitalized on what Instagram offers and are able to earn a living by doing so. This is something we should be celebrating! Influencers are not just those ripped f*ck boys and ‘stick your booty out as far as possible’ girls, they’re photographers, social commentators, charities, and many other fields in between. Do they deserve to have their business harmed too? Does anyone?

Editor’s Note: As long as Influencers abide by FTC laws, we’re okay with this here in the States. Otherwise, just be transparent and don’t bait and switch people.

Read: I’m a Street Photographer and Gave Being an Instagram Boyfriend a Shot

Instagram Does Not Care About You

Every action Instagram takes relates to money; it’s a business after all. So this move isn’t in support of social health or done for the good of the photographic process. It’s a financial decision, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we soon see Instagram pushing users to pay to display their likes, or that they can only show likes on paid, sponsored content. Again, big corp has the win and the everyday person like you and I have to find new ways to earn a stream of income.

Nobody should be celebrating this.

Dan Ginn

Dan Ginn is a content writer and journalist. He brings with him five years' experience writing in the photographic niche. During that time he has worked with a range of leading brands, as well as a host of professional photographers within the industry.