Instagram is hoping to make its social platform a more welcoming and less pressurised environment for young people after removing likes as part of a global trial.
Recent studies have suggested that the pressure to gain likes and approval on the visual-focused site has led to a rise in mental health problems among teens.
Instagram now wants to remove the toxicity associated with likes so that users can instead focus on creating and engaging with content they believe followers and friends will enjoy rather than feeling pressured to conform to a particular worldview.
Instagram’s EMEA head of public policy Tara Hopkins said that users in the test will no longer see how many likes or views an image or video has when scrolling through the news feed.
She added: “While the feedback from early testing has been positive, this is a fundamental change to Instagram, and so we’re continuing our test to learn more from our global community.”
Hopkins also believes that the removal of likes will improve the general public’s perception of macro and micro-influencers while also encouraging more wholesome and higher-quality marketing practices.
She said that users often feel the need to like popular posts and keep up with what’s trending, but they can now attempt to forge genuine connections instead and follow what they are genuinely passionate about.
Hopkins concluded by urging advertisers to move away from “vanity metrics” and towards strategies and analysis centred on ROI and serving audience interests and needs.
The latest global trial follows a successful test in Australia and New Zealand.