Instagram Changing Likes


Callie Oehmler '20

In November, Instagram changed the ability for users to see the number of likes received on a post.

Around a billion Instagram users all over the world may not necessarily be “liking” the new changes they are seeing on the popular social media platform’s latest update.  Before social media, you either liked something or you didn’t. But since the advent of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, how much you like something can actually be measured.  Anyone posting pictures of themselves, their family, their pets, their boyfriend, girlfriend, or even what they are eating at the time can get instant feedback in the form of “likes,” but Instagram is changing that. 

 Kevin Systrom created Instagram in 2010 so users could quickly post a photo without using as many words as Facebook.  The idea was instant gratification and it quickly became popular among teens who were tired of their parent’s oversharing paragraphs instead of clever one-line captions, or in some cases, no captions at all.  

Instagram has always made likes public, but that’s changed.  With the current update, you can still see your own likes, but other users aren’t able to see your exact numbers, so they can’t compare their number of likes to yours.  Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri says, “What we’re hoping to do is depressurize Instagram a little bit, and make it a bit less of a competition; the idea is to try and reduce anxiety and social comparisons, specifically with an eye towards young people.” 

Some are thrilled about the change and believe it will make posting on Instagram less stressful.  One Hutchison sophomore says, “I like the hidden likes because I feel less pressure when posting and don’t get caught up in the toxic comparisons with my friends.”

While Instagram says they are trying to take some of the pressure off younger users, their new plan is putting the app’s nearly 3.7 million influencers out of a job.  Influencers are people with a considerable amount of followers, and are looking to cash-in on their popularity. They seek to gain followers and likes on the app to attract brand deals with third party businesses.  

Influencers with high numbers of followers and likes, get the attention of companies wanting to promote their brand and they will often pay top-dollar for endorsements in influencer posts.  According to, the world’s highest paid Instagrammer is Kylie Jenner who averages as much as $1.26 million dollars a post.  Jenner, a cosmetics mogul and member of the Jenner-Kardashian family has 147 million followers and deals with luxury fashion and beauty brands like Balmain.  She’s followed by singer Ariana Grande, who has 165 million followers, but makes just short of a million dollars a post. Grande mainly promotes beauty brand Ulta. The hidden likes will complicate their pay days. 

Instagram may have hidden the like feature, but that will not completely stop competition on the app. The number of followers for every account are still easily viewed by the public, as well as the number of comments a post receives.