Instagram is testing hiding likes in several countries and this feature will probably roll out globally in the coming months. The feature as Instagram puts it is to reduce the pressure of the platform. Since it launched, the giant photo-sharing social network has been a popularity contest platform and with likes being removed, teens and young people are switching to business accounts.
When Instagram rolled this test, most people were concerned about Instagram influencers. The initiative to remove likes won’t affect them as they already have access to their analytics as they are business accounts and can evaluate their performance from the back end.
Ignore headlines that say hiding IG likes will harm influencers. We don’t get paid per like—we negotiate a flat fee upfront. After the ad runs, we provide analytics so the brand can evaluate our performance. IG analytics aren’t going anywhere, @CNBC 🤷♂️ https://t.co/6aaOih6CQ6
— Matt Crump 🏳️🌈 (@crump) July 22, 2019
Now teens and young people want access to these analytics and the only way to do so is to turn your Instagram profile into a creator or a business account. This is ao dangerous to them as you now have to give up your contact information including phone number and email that can be accessed by the public.
The settings to make this switch are easily accessible and this endangers the privacy of these users. David Stier conducted an analysis of about 200,000 accounts and reported this issue to Instagram. This switch comes with unintended privacy consequences.
According to Bloomberg, the independent data scientist even asked parents if they knew that their 13-year-olds were turning their Instagram accounts to business profiles that their contact information can be accessed by over 1 billion people.
“Every parent I talk to is like, ‘Are you kidding?’” Stier said.
Stier wants Instagram to do more to protect users especially minors by not displaying users actual details and opt to use contact forms that other businesses prefer.
Even though users who post the photos can see who likes their posts on their end but teens and young people want more metrics on how their posts performed – this can only be done by switching to business accounts.
How long will it be before we really understand just how damage has been done to our brains because of likes? https://t.co/zaeHlIqcRv
— Karissa Bell (@karissabe) July 26, 2019
— Andy Beal (@AndyBeal) July 27, 2019