Is hiding likes on Instagram the solution to anxiety?

Instagram is testing a feature with a small audience where only the person who shares a post will see the total number of likes it gets.

“We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get.” That’s how Instagram describes a seemingly small design change test with great potential impact on users’ well-being.

Could hiding like counts reduce herd mentality?

A mentor of mine told me I need to treat Instagram as a visual representation of my résumé. So much of our success opportunities depend upon our Instagram. But where should we draw the line?

Is censorship on Instagram the best move to make against social anxiety, negative moods and comparing yourself to others? And is hiding likes on Instagram the best solution?

Being swallowed by social media is so dangerous for our mental health when you don’t have the right mindset. When you begin to treat your Instagram posts like a performance everyone’s watching, you start staging your life in unhealthy ways.

Instagram says: “Hiding likes on Instagram could reduce herd mentality, where people just Like what’s already got tons of Likes. It  could reduce the sense of competition on Instagram, since users won’t compare their own counts with those of more friends or superstar creators. And it could encourage creators to post what feels most authentic rather than trying to rack up Likes for everyone to see.”

If you continuously use Instagram this way, it becomes a place of judgment, comparison, and self-doubt. This practice plants the seed known as Instagram anxiety, which is deeply rooted in the minds of many who use the app.

hiding likes on instagram

The design change test is found by Jane Manchun Wong, the prolific expert who has spotted tons of Instagram features before they’re confirmed or launched. Wong discovered the design change test in Instagram’s Android code and was able to generate the screenshots above.

Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch that this design is an internal prototype that’s not visible to the public yet. A spokesperson told TechCrunch: “We’re not testing this at the moment, but exploring ways to reduce pressure on Instagram is something we’re always thinking about.” Other features we’ve reported on in the same phase, such as video calling, soundtracks for Stories and the app’s time well-spent dashboard, all went on to receive official launches.

My Story and why I don’t like hiding likes on Instagram

Before my Instagram journey started I was a DJ, producer, and record label owner (which I still manage) for over 15 years:

  • I signed records at multiple labels around the world (including Spinnin’ Records)
  • I was able to travel to many places around the world so people could enjoy my music.
  • My biggest audience as a DJ was roughly 10.000 people at a festival, deejaying prime time. Standing in front of such a large audience is one of the best feelings in the world, but with great success also comes a downside.

Before my gig I had the same thoughts, almost every other day: Every move I make, every track I played had to be perfect. I could not disappoint 10.000 people at the same time was my major fear. But, I also knew that people came to that festival to enjoy my DJ set, my energy, and vibe.

I knew my strengths would overpower my only weakness: insecurity. Realizing this I knew I had to change things for good. Get the right mindset.

I used to hate critics, now I embrace them. Critics only give you the strength to improve yourself.

That said, my #1 rule back then (and still is):
“you cannot please them all”

(p.s. I nailed that gig ?)

Why I share you this story?
At a young age, I had to teach myself how to deal with pressure, anxiety and different kinds of people who all had an opinion about me or my music. Back then “a like” didn’t exist, and social media only just had started out. But a crowd of 10,000 people who look you in the eyes while you put your hands up in the air waiting for the next drop to kick in is real.

Let’s fast forward to the present moment.

I deleted my personal accounts 5 years ago. I don’t follow friends or family online. If they want to reach out they got my phone number and I’m able to chat with them via iMessage or WhatsApp. I purely use social media for my businesses I run online. And it has been a blessing for me every single day.

I do however own multiple pages in different niches myself. I have 2.7 million followers and still growing every day. On average 25-50 million (!!) people get to see my content every week.

If I would have received a penny for every negative or hate comment/dm I received, I would have been a millionaire by now. Does that mean I would like hiding likes on Instagram or even comments? NO!

I’ve found myself questioning my purpose on Instagram (or in life) so many times. I’m only experiencing feelings that are human I guess. But have I ever doubted what I am doing is wrong? Not once.

I don’t believe hiding likes on Instagram is the solution to anxiety on social media.

I believe that the problem of anxiety on social platforms is not because of these platforms, but because of the mindset of the users. Many believe that they only should share their best self online. That we all live the ‘perfect’ life filled with joy and blessing.

That’s not true.

I never share the ‘perfect image’ when setting up social strategies for my own accounts (including for health and fitness). By adding value to my followers with free tips & tricks I give them the right tools and knowledge to improve their lives.

One of my favorite quotes is:
“If it took you 10-20 years to get here, stop expecting to get the perfect result in 30 days”.

This also counts on the mentality for social media.

Although it is a natural human instinct to compare yourself to others, the birth of social media has heightened this feeling to a whole new level.

Rather than making comparisons to people who are in the same boat as we are, we now have a global landscape to draw from.

Mass media is one of the commanding influences today for social comparison and studies show it takes a toll on our wellbeing. It’s true: Images on Instagram can create a crippling feeling that plagues self-confidence.

But censorship on social media is never the solution to this problem.

In my opinion, education and awareness are the best two methods to kill this growing problem in our society.  It helped me, so why can’t it help others?

I know my situation is different than others, but I do however am able to share my experience with you.

Hiding likes on Instagram can bring a change, as Instagram says “it could encourage creators to post what feels most authentic rather than trying to rack up Likes for everyone to see”.

To highlight this: it’s exactly what I teach companies I visit and also implement in my own strategies.

You should never try and rack up likes.

The best strategy for social media, and especially on Instagram still is:

  1. Stay close to your values
  2. always provide added value to your following
  3. experiment, don’t be afraid to fail
  4. embrace critics, learn from them

I do believe the stress and anxiety social media can give is something that needs attention and a fix.

But still, I don’t believe that any kind of censorship on any kind of platform is the way to go.

I’m looking forward to what the future will bring and what will happen on Instagram.  Will this function only be part of a small test, or is Instagram going to start hiding likes on Instagram any time soon.

What do you think?

Published by bram

My name is Bram van Houtum, founder of Instagram Nanny. ?? ???????? Make you a HERO on social media and give you a podium to share your unique story to inspire the masses ❤️