I’m so sick of the endless social pressure of likes on social media. I like posting content on Instagram for my friends, but it’s really hard not to get sucked into the “how many likes did it get?” validation game. Is there a way to post photos on Instagram but block or hide like counts to avoid this madness?
While there’s a lot to like about social media, there are some definite problems too. One of the greatest is what I call “the numbers game” where “influencers” compete for more followers, more views, more likes. At some level it is a self-reinforcing loop, though, because the algorithms that the social networks use to figure out what to surface for users are based on popularity, but there are a lot of problems with this approach too. For one, it’s hard not to get caught up in the madness, asking people to subscribe, like, comment, share, as if more views = more importance. Are people with more views really better human beings? I suspect not.
After years of watching teens and others suffer from the hostile feedback of social networks – even to the point of it showing up in an animated feature film as a sobering joke – these companies are starting to experiment with hiding community votes and engagement. One of the first to do this is Instagram, though its implementation so far is a rather halfhearted solution. Still, you probably have it available in your own Instagram app on your smartphone, so let’s have a look…
HOW TO HIDE VIEWS AND LIKES IN INSTAGRAM
First off, it’s worth noting that you can’t default hide views and likes and that it isn’t a setting that’s front and center as you post content on your Instagram account. For example, here I am poised to post a photo of a storm cloud:
Got a comment, got hashtags, identified location, and have even marked that I want to also share it on Facebook and Twitter. So how do I hide view and like counts? That’s found in the barely visible “Advanced Settings” link at the bottom. A tap on that and quite a few more options appear:
There it is, on the very top: “Hide Like and View Counts on This Post“. Interestingly, the comment suggests that there’s a way you can hide other people’s view count and likes on posts you view in your own Instagram, but no way to default seek to hide that on your own posts. Still, a tap to enable “Hide Like and View Counts” and you can go back to the main Instagram post view and proceed.
Once posted, it doesn’t really look much different. Here’s how my Instagram post looks on someone else’s Instagram account:
Notice that they can still like, comment, and share my post as normal. Once there is a “like”, however, the view is just a little different:
Instead of showing the count – which in this instance would be 1 – it displays “View Likes”.
Meanwhile, on my own Instagram account I see this:
The tip-off is “and others” rather than “and 7 others” or, perhaps, “and 143k others”. I can View Insights to learn more, or I can simply tap on the Liked by line and find out who liked it. So it’s hidden, sort of, but I’m not sure that this really accomplishes the goal of really taking popularity and votes out of the equation. Do you like some Instagram posts more because they have thousands of views or likes?
My suspicion is that the Instagram team isn’t done with this feature and we’ll see it change over the next few years to more effectively hide this data from posts and from the overall Instagram experience. We’ll see.