The sheer power Instagram wields over its users

Instagram is currently in the midst of an experiment: hiding the number of likes on users’ shared posts. In seven countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand), you’re only able to see the number of likes on your own posts. No one else can see them.

Thus far, the effects of Instagram’s tinkering appear to be dramatic and impactful.

  • Influencers are complaining that not being able to see the number of likes has led to a substantial decline in attracting likes and comments on their content.
  • On the other hand, influencer marketers seem more favorable in that they can now better assess organic engagement and click-through activity – as opposed to likes as a vanity metric that doesn’t truly indicate product / brand appeal.

Instagram’s stated intention with hiding likes is to reduce the addictive behaviors and psychological pressures that have negatively stained social media’s reputation.

It’s not known whether Instagram will roll this out worldwide, but this trial only further exemplifies the absolute power it possesses over all its users.

It’s important to remember that social media platforms aren’t public entities, but privately owned. And those who run them have the absolute discretion to make any modification as they see fit.