Instagram decides to hide photo likes despite backlash

Photo courtesy of Frank Buschman, Flickr

Instagram likes are slowly disappearing from the public view each day. Last Friday at a Wired event in San Francisco, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced that likes will start being hidden from U.S. users as early as this week. 

The idea is that by hiding likes, it will get rid of the constant popularity contest between young users that is taking place on the app. As the feature rolls out, it will be interesting to see how its implementation will be received by the public.

“It’s about young people,” Mosseri stated at the WIRED25 panel. “The idea is to try and de-pressurize Instagram and make it less of a competition, give people more space to focus on connecting with people they love; things that inspire them.”

It is quite apparent that social media has reached a toxic climax with how it is being used and interpreted by the youth. Social media has caused negative effects on a lot of people’s lives. Taking away likes is only trying to fix one area of a much bigger problem.

The person posting can still see who is liking their pictures and is still getting validated by seeing all the attention they get on their post. The pictures are still going up, and people can still see the perfect lives they try to showcase. Other Instagram users will still compare themselves to other people, which is the most toxic use of social media that has yet to be solved.

“It will not impact the whole U.S. at once,” Mosseri stated. He continued, stating that Instagram is putting the needs of young people before the needs of big companies, which is why they are going through with hiding likes, despite the backlash they are receiving from certain companies and influencers. 

People on social media are split in the comment sections, fighting under Mosseri’s tweet about the plan to hide likes going into effect. Some people argue that change is not necessary, especially for those claiming they know how to use social media responsibly. 

Others are on the opposite end of the argument, stating that many people think it is a beauty pageant and far too many people are judge based off of how many likes they get. 

Both sides of the argument have validity. There are people who have pre-judged someone’s character by pulling up their Instagram and seeing how many likes they get. That is a ridiculous way to judge people’s character, and that is an issue that needs to be eliminated, because hiding likes may not be a permanent solution. 

The bigger issue here is a generation of kids grew up with free reign over social media. It has affected their social skills and mental health. 

The best way to remedy the negative effects of social media and the "like" obsession that people have is to offer social media etiquette classes, whether shared online or taught in schools, so youths have a healthier relationship with social media.