How will I know if they like me?

May 15, 2019

Instagram Likes

Our fifth minisode of "The Creative Influencer" podcast is available today for download on iTunes, Spotify, and premier platforms everywhere. In minisodes, we answer questions that our listeners have emailed Jon. In this minisode, Jon answers a question about the rumors circulating around Instagram testing the removal of their "like" button.

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A transcript of the episode follows:

Welcome to this week's minisode. Today we have an e-mail from Becky with the subject line: "I like Instagram likes." The email reads:

Subject: I like Instagram likes

Jon,

I heard that Instagram is doing away with likes. I liked the likes, and they weren't likes anyway, they were hearts, but I digress.

Back to my question, why would they do this?

Becky

Becky, great question. I did notice that you wrote about likes in the past tense. You said, "I liked the likes" so you're talking about them as if they're already gone. They are still here.

The reporting on this is all over the place.

Newsweek reported that a developer reverse-engineered the Instagram app and said in a tweet that likes might go away. Newsweek also reported that Instagram denied testing the feature.

Bloomberg reported that Facebook (remember Facebook owns Instagram) said in a blog post that "we're running a test in Canada that removes the total number of likes on photo and video views."

That set a firestorm of reaction.

Self-esteem advocates seem to be in favor if it because it's just wrong for people to judge their self-worth by the number of likes they get on an Instagram post.

The reaction from brands is more mixed. Some brands are concerned about tracking engagement. Other brands are happy because it will eliminate likes just because other people have liked a post and potentially will more clearly measure true engagement.

So, I did some investigation. I started with the developer, who's name is Jane Manchung Wong. I looked at her Twitter feed. She describes herself as "Uncovering unreleased features, security vulnerabilities & code for fun." Doesn't sound fun to me, but to each their own. On April 18 she tweeted that "Instagram is testing hiding like counts from audiences." And "as stated in the app: "we want your followers to focus on what you share, not how may likes your posts get'."

Then I went to Facebook's official blog. If they reported that they were testing the new interface in Canada, they've taken down the post.

In the meantime, keep liking. I'd suggest that you start with the posts on @creative.influencer.

Thanks for the email.


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