Earlier this year Instagram announced it would be “getting rid of likes”. Coming from a platform built on engagement, this new policy was unexpected. The objective is to turn the social network into a safer place for people to create content without feeling pressured by how many likes they get. Introduced first in Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Italy and Brazil will follow.

Did they just build a giant wall preventing small brands and influencers to be seen by the rest of us?

Although the big accounts might be affected by this ban, this is nothing in comparison to what small accounts will experience. At first I thought this ban would be useless just as long we could see how many followers people have or how many comments they receive on their post. If you are a young and impressionable new comer, chances are you may compare yourself to some influencers or brands you admire and dream about that day you will make it big.

At the moment we cannot tell for sure where we are heading to and what would be the outcome of this test but if it means bringing more value to the community then it is the right solution.

From vanity metrics to opportunities for its users.

A lot of people are trying to evaluate the impact on influencer marketing. I believe this ban could be a blessing in disguise. This could lead to higher quality posts. We can expect influencers and brands leveraging more and more best in class stories and Instagram lives which in the long run could be even more overwhelming for small accounts as they struggle to produce the same level of content with fewer resources.

It is time for Instagram to seize this opportunity and turn the like feature into something more meaningful to its community. Spotify and YouTube have been doing it for ages.

How about using likes to push similar content to the users either from the same account or from other accounts?

This would spark discussions and create more engagement. People would then see content they like on their feed alongside what the people they follow post. Maybe once in a while Instagram would push content different from what they are used to follow just to broaden their horizon.

I believe that some of the pressure these young people experience might be coming from that short period of time we all have to generate enough engagement to reach a maximum of people and get as many likes as possible to go viral. If we could see content based on what we like and / or when it was posted, people would feel better posting content they know will be seen eventually by like-minded people and impact their lives in a positive way.

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