Photo by Abbigale Elliott
The obsession with “likes” on Instagram has slowly taken priority over the original purpose of posting on social media. People, especially among the younger generations, have forgotten the true purpose of social media and focuses on the numbers instead.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow users to share special occasions, events, emotional changes, and random news with others daily. However, there is a belief embedded, especially among younger users, that the amount of likes you get on a post defines your popularity and self-worth.
The pressure to get more likes continues to grow as social media becomes more involved in society. This, in turn, causes an unhealthy obsession and a decrease in self-esteem and positive mental health for younger generations. As a result, Instagram has come up with a solution in order to steer away from likes and go back to its original purpose; connecting with others. As a start, Instagram is removing a foundational component of its app.
The CEO of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, has recently announced that Instagram will no longer feature the number of likes on posts. This does not mean that likes will be completely removed. Instead, likes will be private and can only be viewed by the person who posted the content. As of right now, this feature is in its early stages, meaning that only some accounts will have access to no-like posts at this time. However, this can be expected to expand over time.
“I think it’s good because then people aren’t obsessed with how many likes they got on each picture and they aren’t self-conscious of what they post,” sophomore Haley Cabrera said.
People commonly delete pictures when the number of likes they received did not meet or exceed their expectations. Also, people often compare the likes they get with others and even put down those who did not get much. This creates a toxic environment for the society.
“This insecurity defeats the purpose of Instagram because most people use the app to see who likes it instead of enjoying the post,” sophomore Emily Hong says.
Many are praising Instagram for pushing forward in an attempt to advocate for mental positivity and to decrease mental illnesses. However, there are some that say this would not change anything because users can still see their own likes. Additionally, others argue that the purpose of Instagram was never about likes and not many are obsessed.
Sophomore Levi Vorvick said, “I don’t think changing it would affect much because people can see the likes they get so they’ll still be potentially insecure.”
Although feedback from Instagram’s recent decisions earned many praises and criticisms from users, it is still an effort to help the ongoing battle with mental illnesses and health. As of right now, it is still too early to know whether this will end up being a positive change or useless addition.