Instagram’s New Update: Likes Cannot Buy Happiness


Allison Cajina

In various select countries, Instagram has already begun removing likes on posts.

Allison Cajina, Staff Writer

For as long as social media has existed, it has been a popularity contest that warrants deep social comparison and division. In particular, Instagram is infamous for its “likes” system, which allows individuals to double-tap on a post they find appealing and in return the one who posts receives a “like”.

This system is in the process of being removed through several new updates. Before, users were able to view who liked someone’s posts and how many total likes they were able to obtain. Now, only the person posting has this viewing access. Mike Krieger, founder of the app, has made a sensible decision, taking into consideration the negative effects of being able to view likes on photographs. In the previous system, users had the ability to constantly compare their photos with that of others, causing many users to look down on others just because they have a larger following while also being more self-conscious about their own social presence. As a result of this update, users will stress less about likes, be less self-conscious about ones’ posts, and have more creative freedom.

Withdrawing likes from the application lifts a weight off of many users’ shoulders. In the current age of social connection through the internet, users feel pressured to reach a certain amount of likes and comments on their posts within a couple of days. Likes hold an excessive amount of power over these people’s notions of self-worth. If a post is not as successful as presumed, it is deleted and one’s self-esteem plummets. On every platform available, people tell their following to go check out their new upload on Instagram. These efforts may seem insignificant at first glance but, in reality, everyone does it to make their peers aware of their post in order to gain as many likes as possible. Removal of this likes system would minimize worries about such superficial things.

“I believe Instagram had good intentions since you will not be able to compare yourself to others, but some people will still be self-conscious when they check their own likes,” sophomore Laura Delgado said.

Some people simply want to post pictures they think are engaging and cute but may not be able to because they are concerned whether or not their friends will also like it. There have been many circumstances where teenagers will not post a photo they personally think is well-made simply because they do not believe others will enjoy it as well. Instagram could become more of a creative outlet with new concepts instead of the same pictures over and over that are proven to earn likes.

Contrary to these beliefs, many Instagram users do not think that removing this feature will make any difference since likes will still be accessible to the ones who post. Though this situation could happen to some users, it would be much less of an issue than it is now as there was when a public comparison was readily available. Sure, you are able to check your own likes, but the fact that it is not visible to others allows people to worry less about what they receive in comparison.

“A lot of people do not agree but I actually think it could help people. I know I personally pay too much attention to how many likes I get on every post,” junior Isabelle Barbery said.

Easy comparison on social media can be one of the most harmful aspects of the online world, as it takes constant competition to an even greater extent. If the “likes” system is removed from public view, users’ mindsets and confidence will drastically improve and they will no longer have to worry about such an insignificant and frankly arbitrary concept. Mike Krieger is attempting to take a step forward for the mental health of users and hopefully, other platforms will follow to end the overall toxic social media environment.

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