Look, you guys remember the bug where they got rid of vertical scrolling. Instagram is trying stuff all the time, and they are trying new versions of the platform constantly. Some of them, like getting rid of vertical scrolling, are much more extreme than others.
I don't know that they'll get rid of Like counts. I also don't know how valuable Like counts are anymore because without-- I think they're still valuable in reporting, and they will never get rid of the ability to like something, I don't think. They won't get rid of an influencer's ability or a person's ability to see those likes. I think the platform could be a better place if you didn't see the likes out there. I think that you might find yourself posting stuff that you just liked, and you wanted to put into the world, rather than stuff that you thought would do really well but that engagement is still going to drive the algorithm, and it's still going to drive performance, and so it's still going to be important.
Removing that like count certainly might change the way you perceive the platform, but it's not going to change the way the platform works, and it's not going to change the way that people are talking about the success or failure of a certain post. I'm in the middle if they're going to do it. I think that would be a pretty big change. I think there is a small group of people who are saying, "Hey, this is a big problem, we need to change this. This is hurting people's self-esteem." Generally, I find that with businesses if they have a choice between making more money and making sure people's feelings aren't hurt, they're going to go with the money. I don't think that Facebook cares at all what showing Like counts is doing to people's mental health. I know that they don't give a shit. That's fine, honestly. You don't have to use the platform.
If Instagram is a negative force in your life, then don't use it. I don't smoke cigarettes because cigarettes give you cancer. I would actually love to smoke. I would look really cool smoking. I think smoking is a cool aesthetic, honestly. I know that's probably not a super popular opinion, but I think cigarettes look cool. Sue me. I don't smoke cigarettes because they kill you. Okay, cool. If you have a big fucking problem with Instagram, just delete it. You don't need Instagram. My barber has a flip phone. He seems to be doing fine. He's a strange guy, but he doesn't have Instagram. I don't see Instagram's big responsibility to the world to do something different because you can just not use it.
If it is affecting young kids self-esteem, then they could probably do more to keep younger kids off the platform, but I think Like counts is overblown as a problem with the platform. I think that a bigger driver of people's neuroses is follower count. I don't think most people are sweating for likes. I think they're sweating for followers, and I don't think they will ever get rid of that. That would be stupid. Again, there are certainly negative impacts of having this digital popularity contest, but also welcome to life. I don't know what to tell you. Everything is a competition. That's not changing. We're probably stuck with it. We just deal with it.
- Hiding Like Counts, Younger Instagram Users, IGTV Metrics