Instagram will start testing the removal of like counts from certain US users in the coming week. The feature comes in response to growing criticism ...
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri recently appeared on a Wired event announce the controversial idea of hiding ‘like’ counts for users in the US.
Trials are already ongoing in a number of other countries and some US users can expect similar testing to take place in the coming week.
Wired invited Instagram influencer Tracee Ellis Ross on stage to dig down into the proposed details of the move. The conversation turned somewhat awkward for Mosseri, however, on more than one occasion.
Despite leading with the moniker, there’s actually very little in the way to suggest that Instagram will be the ‘safest place on the internet’.
The upcoming change means that only posters will be able to see their likes and this, Mosseri hopes, will “depressurize the app and make it less of a competition”.
Researchers continue to study the impact of social media on mental health. One University of Texas study, for example, confirms that increased social media time creates increased negative emotional experience.
Companies like Instagram will never admit to this of course because they are first and foremost in the business of making money. And to do that they need to keep users maximally engaged.
It’s pretty disingenuous then when Messari claims that Instagram has its priorities intact:
We’re always going to put the people first. That’s one of our core values at Instagram and how we approach our product development… After that we’re gonna put creators. And then we do care about brands and obviously our business etc. It’s really in that order.
When asked the difficult question of whether the company would commit to the change if there was a big drop in user engagement Mosseri uncomfortably explained:
We will make decisions that hurt the business if they’re good for people’s well-being and health because it has to be good for the business over the long run.
Instagram forms part of Facebook’s ballooning empire after it was acquired back in 2012. Anyone with half a brain should therefore think twice about trusting a company associated with Zuckerberg’s terrible track record.
As one tweet speculates, this probably has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with increasing engagement:
One analyst estimates that Facebook will rake in some $10 billion a year alone from Instagram checkout by 2021.
And if Facebook gets congressional approval for its highly centralized cryptocurrency the game will surely be over.
Make no mistake, ol’ Zuck wants his hands in as many pies as
humanly AI makes possible. If scientists are continually warning us off of our devices it’s unlikely that Instagram will ever become the safest place on the internet.