You Are More Than “Insta-Worthy”

Instagram is Now Testing Hiding Likes and This is a Good Thing?


It’s hard to imagine some of the greatest duos without each other, even when apart they are better together. What’s peanut butter without jelly? Barack Obama without Michelle? Tom without Jerry? They all seem incomplete without each other. Yet, some duos appear to be better apart. For example, what is Instagram without likes … the resurrection of self worth? 

On Oct. 14, Instagram announced that the company is expanding its test to hide likes worldwide. According to CNN, Instagram has already tested removing likes in Australia, Brazil and Canada. Now that the U.S. is getting a taste of “likes removal.” This is a game changer for the app and how users interact with it. 

To be clear, the likes aren’t completely gone, users can see the number of likes and views on their personal profiles but the number of likes isn’t visible to users they follow or their followers. When a user double-taps a photo a number won’t appear but their name will. 

There are countless scholarly articles covering “Instagram and self esteem” which show how impactful this app is on mental health. Instagram without likes is a good thing, it takes the judgment and competition out of a picture sharing app. Without likes, there will be less validation seeking and temporary ego boosting. Users will be able to take the picture for what it is and not something of self worth. It wipes away asking questions like: “When is the best time to post for the most likes?,” “Is this insta-worthy?” or “Did you like my post?” because the standard and goal is no longer how many likes you get but to authentically share pictures without any ego-boosting outcome.  

Of course, if Instagram were to permanently hide likes it will leave a small change when it comes to people comparing themselves to others, but it doesn’t eliminate the issue of FOMO (fear of missing out), comparison (one post getting more likes than another) and how many followers people have. Yet, are these really issues Instagram is responsible for or are these personal problems that the users must work through on their own? It is difficult to say because without the app these issues wouldn’t be as prevalent. It is easy to think that one can’t get wrapped up in comparison but with Instagram having people’s lives and their likes on full display, it is hard not to. When I first joined Instagram in 2012 it was a whirlwind of “Like 4 Like,” “Do it for the Gram,” using hashtags just to gain an “audience” and getting at least eleven likes on a post to not appear pathetic. It was tiring working on building something that (at the time) it felt necessary for a teenager’s life, but in actuality the app and what I was putting into it was meaningless. 

It seems that users and Instagram are in the biggest codependent relationship of the 21st century and there is no way out. Potentially removing likes aids in removing some of the major problems that likes originally caused, which is a great thing, but we have an Instagram culture ingrained in our systems. Removing likes is one thing but removing the culture that stemmed from it is another.