Instagram quantified our popularity, and now it wants to fix it

Instagram announced a fundamental change in April: Canadian users would begin testing a new feature that hides the amount of "likes" their messages receive. The announcement was received with uncertainty about how it would change the way we use Instagram. But after a couple of months of testing, it seems that people love it.

"Without seeing the Likes count in the feed publications now, I find myself more clearly focused on the actual quality of the content that is being published," says Matt Dusenbury, a user of the Instagram direct message.

People in the test group can still see how much "I like" their posts accumulate, as long as they are played. All others, however, can not. Instagram says that the goal is to make people "focus on the photos and videos you share, not the amount of" I like ", and people are automatically included in the test, however, they can choose not to participate The company has not yet shared any data on the effectiveness of concealment of tastes in people's publishing habits, but last week extended the test to six more countries, suggesting encouraging results.

Emily Hall, another user, says she took an Instagram break before the taste test was implemented, and now, when she publishes, she is not "obsessed with the amount of things I received" , he tells me about DM. "I think that is because I knew that other people who saw my photos could not judge me preemptively because of the amount of" I like "that I had in my photo or" I like "compared to the amount of time or that a photo had been published. "

Both Hall and Dusenbury worry that users will care more about the number at the end of a publication than about the publication itself and say that hidden counting allows people to stay focused on the photos. "I'm less likely to prejudge something by seeing the amount of" I like "first and the real photo in second place," said Dusenbury. "From the opposite side, there is less pressure to publish the perfect picture with the hope of I like incredible, which I find refreshing."

The people I spoke with said they feel more free to post what they want, rather than what they know. get many likes Another user, Nikola Lubura, says that he used to avoid publishing his own photos, but now he is more sure that he does not worry about people seeing what counts. "Now I do not focus on the number but on the people," he says. "I look and see who liked my publication and not how many. Before it felt like a great competition and now it's relaxing and liberating. "

For companies or creators, the change has not made a big difference. they provide very detailed metrics, how many people stopped following their account on a specific day, and they can still see the amount of "like" in their own content and track it.

Brenda Cárdenas, who makes augmented reality filters for Instagram, she says that these metrics make her more aware of her content, much more than ever.A week, she published more personal content about her workload, and began to see higher follow-ups than usual, which made her In reality, the photos worked well and had many "likes". "Without seeing that information, and only see what does not follow, left a bad feeling," he says about DM. is the solution to eliminate the pressure ".

Cárdenas can still see his tastes, of course. But when analyzing your analyzes, you focus more on non-tracking and on your general account than on any individual publication. As reporter Kaitlyn Tiffany points out in The Goods by Vox hiding "likes" does not condemn influential people to a life without sponsors. The data on tastes and participation still live on the platform, as it has always done. The only difference is that users know that their similar account is hidden.

"I like" have been an integral part of Instagram since the beginning; They have built people and they have knocked them down. They have served as a validator for the content. Although the hidden "likes" could have been an abrupt and inopportune change, users seem to be pleased with it and could become one of the deepest changes the platform has made in years.

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