It’s no secret that actors, actresses, artists, musicians and other celebrities within the hip-hop community love Instagram. Earlier this week, Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott caught flak for a picture they posted to Jenner’s Instagram in which they appear to be parked in a handicapped spot. However, in less than a day, the photo had accumulated over 7.6 million likes.
Yet “likes” may soon be a thing of the past.
This week, Instagram continued to test its feature of removing “like” counts from public view in select markets in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and Brazil.
By removing the “like” count from public view, a user can see how many likes he or she has, but his or her followers or other viewers cannot see the like count.
The company explained that by doing this, it lessens the pressure for lesser-known users to get likes and for major influencers to put out quality content that drives traffic to sites rather than just racking up likes that don’t follow through on a specific call to action.
“We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love,” Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy, said in a statement to the BBC.
The goal, she adds, is that users feel less judged and to see “whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story”.
CNBC noted that the move was met with a positive reception in Canada, where it was first rolled out in May. Megan Graham of CNBC notes that the potential change could also mean that influencer content will need to become higher quality since users won’t be able to lean on the number of likes their posts are receiving when a brand considers working with them. Marketers will still be able to look at an influencer’s follower count, but that metric doesn’t mean much in the way of showing how “engaged” a user’s audience is.
While Instagram hasn’t announced any official plans for their U.S. market, it may be time for “likes” to join the “Top 8” in the graveyard of social media vanity.