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Instagram’s Removal of Likes

Recently, Instagram has been experimenting with the removal of the likes counter for certain users in varying countries, and recently expanded to the United States.


There is an entire economy that goes on within Instagram for advertisements. Though Instagram itself has paid ads show up every few posts in your feed, individual accounts are also paid to post sponsorship pictures and videos that Instagram does not have influence over. The amount the individual accounts get paid vary by how many followers/likes the account gets.


The account likes to boast its large amount of likes to show they have a high ratio of followers to likes, to show that all their followers are real and not botted. This also applies to individual users that want are looking to follow a new account – they want to see user engagement in the posts, and now they will be unable to see if accounts have a ton of followers and no likes due to bot accounts.

This effect the “boom or bust” effect that displays the reactions of people to content. This makes the already popular accounts even more popular (to boom) and the not so popular accounts “Bust” as it is really hard for them to gain popularity.

In lecture, we learned about the “boom-or-bust” effect of the display of people’s reaction to certain content. This effect is the result of reactor’s decisions based on information.

Displaying the likes increases the number of likes on posts with an already high number of likes. Accounts with a lot of likes gain more views and are more credible and people are therefore more likely to follow. But as Instagram removes this metric of visible likes, the boom-or-bust effect may be thrown off as people will only have one metric to follow.


This will probably allow for more accounts to gain popularity. As you scroll through your feed, you will only see the account that posted, the posted content, the caption, and the comments. You will no longer be reminded how many likes a certain account gets, and therefore when scrolling through your feed, you become less biased towards looking for posts with millions of likes.


Instagram acknowledges that his hurts their business, but cares about people’s well beings as users were super concerned with how many likes they were getting in relation to other people.


Overall this will make Instagram less competitive as only the account owner will know how many likes they get.


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December 2019