Australia’s leading Instagram influencers expressed a range of feelings this week over the photo-sharing app’s experiment with hiding “likes.”
Some fear it starts the clock counting down toward the end of their moment of fame.
Australia is one of seven countries where Instagram said this week it will hide likes from followers. While users cans still view the “likes” on their posts, Instagram thinks removing them from followers’ views takes social pressure off its more obsessive users.
Instead of a number, posts will show that “Others like this.”
But “likes” bolster earning power, according to some influencers. One said removing the count takes away the “backbone” of influencing.
Instagram influencers open about hidden ‘likes’
“I think it’ll be really hard to start being an influencer,” Perth-based adventurer Zak Hasleby told the website Pedestrian. “You won’t have any backbone to show you have heaps of likes, and businesses won’t be able to see the likes.”
Instagram announced the experiment earlier this year and started in Canada. On Wednesday, it announced on Twitter that it would expand the test to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Italy, Brazil and Ireland. Instagram has not disclosed any initial findings.
Beauty blogger and TV personality Nasser Sultan vented his anxiety about the possible decline of his status.
“It is outrageous that I don’t look like a celebrity now and people can’t see how popular I am with my posts,” he said in Pedestrian.
Food and fitness expert Jem Wolfe, said she will continue to be active on Instagram, but removing “likes” is “demotivating for me.”
“They said they’re doing it to take the completion out of posting,” Wolfe told the website Hack. “I’m not in competition with anyone on Instagram. I’m here to run a business.”
Not everyone hates the move
Others said the Instagram tweak won’t change how they use the app. A few noted that income is based on analytics, not a visible number of “likes.”
All 12 influencers contacted by the website PopSugar welcomed the removal of the likes count.
“If your mood or happiness is being impacted by ‘number of likes’ on a post then it’s probably time to step back and this hopefully helps,” health and fitness influencer Sam Wood told PopSugar. “Let’s all spend a little less time on social media and more time with our family and friends and taking care of ourselves.”
Model Steph Claire Smith wondered if being able to still see your own likes total defeats the purpose. She told PopSugar its important users don’t base their sense of self on “likes” and “followers.”
Tim Dormer, who appeared on Australia’s version of the tv show Big Brother, hopes the move leads to users posting a more “authentic” self.
“And if that means some influencers need to get a real job… suck it,” he said.