The End of the Like Button

By Marcela Cabellos

For better or for worse, a lot of controversy has occured, when it comes to people expressing their liking or disliking of what you post on social media. The number of likes to a post can bring you either rising status or just low self-esteem. Recently, the company known as Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has announced to the public that it may possibly remove the ‘Like’ button. Their reasons for this vary; some of these reasons are because “liking” involves health and low self esteem issues. Instagram’s main goal for this social media platform is to have “users concentrate on their posts and interact with the app rather than likes.” Therefore, instead of worrying so much about people’s opinions, you are able to connect and be more involved with the actual app, and what it has to offer. According to an article from Paldesk: “Likes turned social media into a popularity contest, taking the focus away from higher-quality posts and conversations. Although likes encourage users to share personal data in order to be likable, they are obviously demoralizing at times.” This basic definition of what a simple like button can do on a social media platform is appalling towards society and the company policies itself. The reasons as to why Instagram decided to get rid of the like button include health concerns. For instance, an article from Forbes, states: “A recent report from the UK's Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Young Health Movement looked at the impact of different social media platforms on mental health. While there were some positives about accessing health information, the opportunity for self-expression and a feeling of community, the negative factors were heavy. Things like anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleep quality and negative impact on body image were all reported.” This study is significant because it brings an alarm towards Instagram itself. In order for these health issues and negative effects to stop, the removal of the ‘Like’ button is necessary for a better app platform both mentally and behaviorally.

    How will Instagram change this feature on the app you may ask? The company has already made a solution. The app is planning to remove the total number of likes from both photos and videos, and then will display only a small amount of profiles with names of who liked the post for only the account user. However, it will not show the exact total number of likes from the post anymore. This alteration began ever since the middle of April, 2019. However, at that time, Facebook was only giving out surveys to people asking them for their opinions as to whether they agree to have the Like button removed or not. Recently, in November, Instagram has brought this topic to attention again, and many users are not satisfied with this decision. According to Forbes, Instagram started taking action in Canada ever since April, but will start removing the like button in the U.S. this week. So far, there hasn’t been any complaints from Instagram users in Canada so change have definietly been positive and will presumably be also in the U.S. 

Many changes and updates are happening in the era of technology and social media. Those updates would help improve people’s self consciousness and self esteem. Sometimes changes are better and alleviate the atmosphere between the people and we as humankind need more of it.