Big Tech executives refuse to allow the free market to determine which content amasses reach and influence on social media. Instead, tech giants insist on censoring, banning, and suppressing user content that contradicts their preferred viewpoint.
Now Instagram, the world’s largest photo-sharing platform, is taking measures to ensure the social media network becomes the safest place on the internet.
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced the company will begin hiding a post’s “Like” counts from all Instagram users in the United States, except the post’s creator, in an attempt to prevent the platform from being used as a popularity contest.
Speaking at the Wired25 conference in San Francisco on Friday, Mosseri explained the modification is intended to see if users have a more positive outlook of the platform.
“Right now we’re testing making like counts private so you’ll be able to see all the likes you’re getting on a photo of yours or a video of yours, but no one else will,” Mosseri said. “[We’re testing it] in seven countries, including Brazil and Japan and Canada, and we’re actually announcing that we’re going to start testing in the US next week. Not the whole US at once.”
“It’s about young people. The idea is to try to depressurize Instagram,” he continued. “Make it less of a competition, give people more of a space to connect with people that they love, things that inspire them… but it’s really focused about young people. We have to see how it affects how people feel about the platform, how people use the platform, but I’ve been spending a lot of time on this personally.”
Removing viewership of a user’s Likes “reduces anxiety” and “social comparison,” the Instagram CEO argued.
“While it seems likely that making Instagram less of a popularity contest might aid the average user, Instagram has to be mindful that it doesn’t significantly decrease creators’ or influencers’ engagement and business success,” TechCrunch reports. “These content makers are vital to Instagram’s success, since they keep their fan bases coming back day after day, even if users’ friends are growing stale.”
Instagram has already begun testing hiding Likes in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Brazil, and Japan and the inability to view a user’s number of Likes has already proven users are less inclined to tap ‘Like’ if they didn’t have the context of how many others had done the same.
According to a study by HypeAuditor, influencers on social media have unanimously already begun seeing their Likes decrease in all countries where the hidden Like count test was employed, with Likes falling 3% to 15% in all the countries among influencers with 5,000 to 20,000 followers.
Facebook, which owns Instagram has also recently announced a plan to modify its platform towards demetrication. The company is currently hiding like counts from its platform in Australia.
“We are running a limited test where like, reaction, and video view counts are made private across Facebook,” a Facebook spokesperson told Variety on Friday. “We will gather feedback to understand whether this change will improve people’s experiences.”
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