In hiding the number of “Likes” a post gets on Instagram, parent company Facebook is actually hiding another motivation for the grand experiment – making you post more.
Instagram said the hidden “Likes” test was one part of a strategy to reduce cyber-bullying. Removing the count would create a kinder, gentler experience and allow users to connect without the social pressure of feeling liked.
But three former Facebook employees told CNBC that the social media company’s growth and data science teams are motivated by research suggesting that getting rid of “Likes” could increase the churn of content.
The greater the number of posts, the more time people engage Instagram. More time means more advertising, reported CNBC, which granted the former employees anonymity.
Immediately after Instagram began hiding the “Likes” this summer, several influencers complained it will create an obstacle to making money. They see the “Likes” tally as a crucial sign of brand value that helps them gain followers and sponsorships
The experiment started in seven countries over the summer and more recently went global. Instagram has not decided on whether to make the strategy permanent.
The bombshell report is likely to crank up the ire with a company already dealing with trust problems. Instagram, CNBC points out, is a $100 billion money maker and crucial to the future of Facebook.