Photo by: Jacob Castro/Lariat News
Since mid-November, Instagram began a trial testing likes in the U.S. for some users. People who are part of the trial will receive a message at the top of their feed that says: “Testing a change to how you see likes.” Users will still be able to see and count their own likes, however, their followers will no longer be able to see how many likes a photo gets. Celebrities like Nicki Minaj have spoken negatively about the new test and went as far as to say she would stop using the platform altogether.
CEO of Instagram, Adam Mosseri has stated that this is an effort to depressurize Instagram and allow users an opportunity to connect more with loved ones and things. Other countries such as New Zealand, Ireland, Brazil, and more have already began undergoing this same test.
Here is what students and professors of Saddleback college had to say about the recent change to Instagram.
“I think that the same negative impact on people’s self-esteem will still be there. Regardless of other people can see your likes or not, you’re still going to know who liked your post and who didn’t.” Said Dr. Cubbage, a sociology professor at Saddleback College.
“People are still going to look at what they wanna look at and they’re gonna try their hardest to look for that content.” Said Liam Cuiderno, student at Saddleback college, when asked whether or not he believes this will bring change to the culture of Instagram.
“I think it’s a bad thing that people rely on their likes. It’s like a popularity contest for everyone,” said Jocelyn Polares, student at Saddleback College.
“I don’t think that the change regarding likes in the app will change Instagram culture at all,” said Joseph, another student at Saddleback College.
After asking many different people about the trial regarding likes, the overall consensus seemed to be that we do indeed have a problem on our hands in society when it comes to social media and the extents people are willing to go for extra likes which leads to more followers.
Additionally, of the people that I spoke with, I had another similarity in responses. Most of them said that this won’t change instagram or social media culture as a whole in the U.S.
One student I spoke with had something different to say than the rest.
“I think taking away likes would have an adversity of effects on our mental health. Simply because it wires our brain into thinking we need that dopamine release. Every time you get a like you’re gonna find yourself in a positive feedback loop, causing you to want more and more. So taking away likes may cause people to realize that they don’t need likes for validation.” Said Josh Hoffman, another student at Saddleback.
Studies show that likes fell in the countries that have already started this trial. One study found that influencers did in fact lose followers as a result of the change to Instagram likes.
Many questions remain at this time regarding the app. Will Instagram do this permanently? Whats the next social media platform I can jump on? Are celebs going to stop posting as much? Whats going to happen to my business? How will this effect my business? These are all valid questions and a representation of our culture.
In the past, we have not been hesitant to jump ship so to speak when a social media platform begins to degrade or a new better social media app emerges.
Keep up with this topic as there is certainly more to come. This is only a trial so there is still a chance that Instagram will go back to normal.