It seems like there is a hidden battle going on right now. Twitter just announced a month ago that they will make it more difficult to see the number of retweets to cull herd mentality. Through their studies, it seems like many people tend to share posts that has a high number of retweets because of how the human brains work. Now, Instagram is going to do something similar as well.
Since Instagram does not have an equivalent of retweeting, they are killing off the ability to see number of likes entirely.
Curently, in any posts on Instagram, the number of likes per post is displayed just below the shared image. A recent post has shown that that Instagram is indeed removing the number of likes – just displaying names of whoever else has liked it.
Instagram is testing hiding like count from audiences,
as stated in the app: "We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get" pic.twitter.com/MN7woHowVN
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) April 18, 2019
Instagram has stated in the app that this is done to focus on the content itself, not the number of likes. It sure does seem familiar with Twitter’s philosophy when it comes to the number of retweets.
The next question here is how influencers will report their stats back to their clients. When it comes to influencer marketing, the number of reach is important. Since Instagram does not have the number of reach displayed, the “likes” is the only metric.
Many of the influencers does not really have much engagement per post and perhaps that is why Instagram is taking a stand to remove number of likes from the public. The clients cannot verify that number by themselves, hence will opt for a more authentic metric which is post engagement. Does the post get a lot of comments from real people? How spam-free is that particular post? This metric is much more difficult to fake, and can regulate the influencer market even better.
Maybe Instagram will introduce another new tool to help influencers in this regard. As of now, there are no details on when this change will take place for all Instagram users. It is still currently in testing phase.