Instagram is trying to prevent FOMO by hiding likes in 7 countries. This little experiment initially started in Canada a few months ago, and has since been expanded to Ireland, Italy, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.
Why get rid of the hearts?
Instagram reasons that by getting rid of the hearts, users will be free to express themselves however they wish. They can avoid the envy spiral of comparing other’s number of likes to likes of their own on videos and photos. In other words, it is not a popularity test any longer. No more buying likes, no more viewing it as a metric for success, and definitely no more falling prey to an influencer maintaining a persona they can’t keep up.
How does it work?
Aside from the little notification above alerting you to a new “test”, readers won’t be able to see the number of likes on any given post. Now it just says “Like by (username) and others”, rather then “Like by (username) and 56 others”. Content creators, however, can still gauge how well their content is doing through a separate “Likers” window.
Experts Weigh In
Is hiding likes a miracle cure-all for cyber bullying? Experts beg to differ.
Instagram is considered to be the social network most detrimental to young people’s mental health, according to a recent report by the Royal Society for Public Health in the United Kingdom.
Renee Engeln, a psychology professor at Northwestern University believes that the problem lies in content. “The exposure to this constant stream of perfected images is what seems to hurt psychologically,” she explains. Taking away likes won’t have an impact on the content people choose to post.
Still, Instagram should be commended for their efforts. Recently, they are also adding a “Restrict” mode–an option to “mute” certain users.
Text by Fortune Insight