What a future without social media ‘likes’ could mean for the industry

By Bryony Gold

11-2019

As Instagram announces that it is considering removing the platform's public 'like' counts, we consider the impact that a future without visual metrics would have on social media platforms and the influencer market.

From Facebook’s ‘thumbs up’ to Reddit’s ‘upvote’ and Instagram’s and Tik-Tok’s ‘likes’, so-called ‘vanity metrics’ in social media are ubiquitous, and ‘double-tapping’ has become so addictive that for many it is a biological reflex. ‘Likes’ have become a form of currency: often used as a measure of success of the popularity of a post and the engagement of followers, and as such are highly valuable for influencers getting paid for content in posts.

It may then come as some surprise that Facebook-owned platform Instagram has recently announced that it is trialling an experiment that hides the amount of ‘likes’ users receive from their followers, in a move that has been dubbed as signalling the ‘death of influencers’. In the trial, affected users will not see the number of ‘likes’ on their posts unless they click through deliberately, and ‘like’ counts on other user’s posts won’t be visible at all.

Whilst individuals that have been victim to accidentally ‘liking’ the 52-week-old photo might breathe a sigh of relief at the changes, there may be some unintended consequences to the proposed removal of the double-tap particularly for those using social media to build a business.

Read more about the measures and what they mean for influencers in the full article on MediaWrites