If you’ve ever posted on Instagram, you’ll relate to the sweet torture that comes in the aftermath as you wait for the ‘likes’ to roll in; each one a metaphorical pat on the back.
Receiving a ‘like’ on Instagram has been likened to the same high that people get from drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette. These experiences all produce dopamine - a chemical that’s associated with pleasure. Consequently, social media can also develop into an addiction, with people doing whatever they can to receive validation online.
This experience could soon become a thing of the past, on Instagram at least. In May, Facebook announced that it would be testing a so-called ‘like count ban’ on the platform, starting in Canada. Just last week, Instagram announced that the test would also be rolling out to other countries including Japan, Italy, Ireland, and Australia. This means that users here will no longer be able to see the number of likes or video views on a post. They can click through to see the number of likes on their own posts, but not on posts from others.
So, why has Instagram taken this measure, and what could it mean for influencers who have built entire careers based on their popularity on the platform?