Instagram likes are no more: how this changes the algorithm

Abigail Tobis ‘20, Editor-in-Chief

Instagram is arguably one of the most popular social media sites across all ages. Created in 2010 and bought by Facebook in 2012 for one billion dollars, Instagram has only risen in popularity with time; the platform is home to many celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Selena Gomez, Dwayne Johnson, Lionel Messi, and many more. It has become a way to share ideas to the world and reach out to others that you would not have been able to do before. 

Instagram is a platform in which you post pictures that you would like to share with others. You can gain followers if people like your page and want to see more. One of the most followed is Cristiano Ronaldo with more than 193 million. Followers are not the only feature that Instagram has. You can also like and comment on posted pictures. Based on the amount of likes you have, you can likely determine if your picture resonated with the public or not.

Social media in general has been known to cause problems when considering one’s-society’s mental health. Seeing photoshopped pictures of the ‘perfect’ body type and persona can cause insecurities, anxiety and even eating disorders to develop. Seeing how many likes you get in relation to others can cause a comparison that can become unhealthy. Receiving likes and being on your phone in general releases a chemical called dopamine. This chemical is addictive and is similar to the feeling of drugs and is why social media has become so toxic.

Instagram was hoping to eliminate some of these concerns by taking away the double tappign likes. This feature, only recently released in the U.S., has made it so instead of seeing the number of likes you have, you personally could just see what follower liked it, so it is no longer quantified.. According to the head of Instagram Adam Mosseri, the goal was to “reduce anxiety and social comparisons.” Reducing likes is a good start to potentially achieving this. The number of accounts affected are increasing but it is unsure when it will become a common standard with all accounts. 

Junior Sam Adams said, “They should take it away because people feel like if they do not get a lot [of likes] they won’t fit in.” Social media can give people the need to constantly compare themselves and their lives to others, presenting an unhealthy form of competition. It can cause some to feel like they are inadequate. 

Instagram has only selected some accounts in the U.S. to undergo the experiment to see how taking away likes would affect their platform. Even though junior Luc Bussey was not one of these accounts, he still is an advocate for banning likes. “I think it is good because it makes social media less toxic.” Senior Reed Reinhold disagreed with this statement and said, “The reason you post things is so people can acknowledge your life and what you are doing. If you don’t get likes you can see people who don’t like it.” Meaning that the number of your likes and the average of your likes can show if your photo did not perform the best.

Instagram may make this a permanent feature that will be on all accounts in the upcoming 2020 year to help reduce bullying, anxiety and mental health issues involving social media. The likelihood that this will solve all issues with social media is not guaranteed but it is a step in the right direction.


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