At the F8 Developer Conference, Instagram announced fundamental changes to the platform that will be tested, and if successful, implemented. One of the biggest, and unexpected changes on Instagram, that is already testing in Canada, is the “private like count.” With this in place, the number of “likes” on videos and photos will be hidden from the public. One can still see which of their friends and who else has liked the post, but the like count will not be shown publicly.
Instagram’s hopes to shift a user’s focus to the actual content behind the photos and videos shared, rather than worrying if their #ootd (outfit of the day) post will get “enough” likes. This change is being rolled out with the ultimate objective of making the platform safer and more supportive for users, especially younger ones.
On the flip side, this change could fundamentally change the platform. The garnering of likes creates an incentive to produce engaging and interesting content. Without this motivation, less-engaging content could flood users’ Instagram feeds.
For some key players, this presents new challenges. An article by Tech Crunch confirmed that the rollout of this feature will impact how the algorithm ranks a post in the feed. How posts will be ranked if the feature is rolled out is not clear. Also, businesses and influencers rely on these public-facing metrics to show their level of engagement and influence on their followers. For example, influencers often are discovered for paid collaborations and promotions through the measurement of public Like counts or their Liker list.
Whether this feature will be here to stay or go is uncertain. What is certain is that the feature has the potential to change how Instagrammers use the platform.
The social platform also announced explorations to combat online bullying. Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, shared the inspiration behind these new developments: “Instagram doesn’t just want to stop bullying, but lead the Internet’s battle against it.” To do so, Comment Filters, “Away Mode,” and “Manage Interactions” will be tested to make the app less toxic and hateful.
Comment Filters will “nudge” users to rethink a negative comment while they are writing it. The feature addresses bullying before it happens.
“Away Mode” is designed to allow Instagram users to opt out of Instagram during a sensitive time in their life.
“Manage Interactions” limits how certain people can interact with other users without fully blocking them. For example, a user may not want someone to be able to DM them, but still wants them to be able to like their photos.
To view a summary of the proposed changes at the F8 2019 conference, visit The Verge’s article.