Instagram Removes “Like” Feature


Maggie Vann, Reporter

In May of 2019 Instagram began hiding like counts in various countries; including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand; and as of November 10th, the US.

Although there are mixed feelings about this update, especially from teens, it is designed to remove Instagram’s role in depression and anxiety. Globally, 300 million people are affected by depression and anxiety. The new Instagram update is designed to make the app less pressurized, in hopes of allowing people to express their true self, without worrying about how many likes their friends might get. Almost everyone is guilty of comparing themselves to their peers, this new update is designed to improve the Instagram experience.  

For influencers on the app, a huge concern has arisen. Gone are the 131 million likes that used to be shown on Selena Gomez’s page, and gone is being able to see Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s huge fan base. According to a study done by HypeAuditor, the amount of ‘likes’ influencers receive on “the norm” has decreased by about 15%. This is overall hurting Instagram’s business, due to the fact that Instagram’s influencers make up a huge part of the app. However, the CEO of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, said, “We will make decisions that hurt the business if they help people’s well-being and health.”  

The intent of Instagram being “less pressurized” gives teenagers mixed feelings about the update. Some say they want the old Instagram back. One teen, Alexis Von Doerten, said, “If we don’t get them (likes) back, I am never hitting up the new Instagram.” This thought is shared by many other teenagers because they worked on building up their “fan base”, only to find they can’t show it off. 

Some teenagers, however, find that it doesn’t make a huge difference in their Instagram experience. Amelia Fogarty, sophomore at Hellgate, said, “Personally, I don’t find it that big of a deal.” She said that the idea of getting rid of the ‘like counts’ to ward off depression and anxiety comes from a good place, “But the basis of those problems comes from comparisons between yourself and others; and that will happen no matter what form.” Many other teens agree with Fogarty, and say that it doesn’t affect their Instagram experience.

As Instagram removes “likes”, Facebook is considering jumping aboard the same ship. In fact, they began testing the change, similarly to how Instagram, in other countries. Their goal is to also make the platform less pressurized, and more photo-quality based.

A “like-less” Instagram is hoped to boost self esteem among individuals. However, these likes are often what keep users coming back for more, due to the fact that small amounts of dopamine are released with each like. Without being able to view likes, Instagram may take a beating, but there is no doubt that it is leaving people in a better state of mind. 

Overall, this new update will take some getting used to, but it is better for individuals in the long run. Instagram is encouraging people to “Go out and live their lives,” and although this might hurt the app’s business, thousands of people feel more comfortable on the platform now that the change is being implemented. The update will draw people’s eyes from the amount of likes their peers receive, to the quality of the photo, and overall make the Instagram experience more enjoyable.