Vishal Shah, VP of Product, Instagram discloses why Instagram is hiding likes and features that Instagram users will never see.
In an episode of Matt Navarra’s podcast – ‘The Social Media Geekout’, Vishal Shah, VP of Product, Instagram gives insights on the removal of likes from the platform and more. Here are the highlights.
Shah mentions this idea popped from the team that works on interactions and feed. The tests of hidden like counts were first spotted in April 2019 and then officially announced by Instagram in November 2019 along with Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram providing an official statement at the F8 Conference 2019.
He says, with all of the research the team heard it loud and clear that the display of like counts lay high pressure on general users whilst posting. The expression of care had changed to an expression of validation or ‘perceived validation’.
Shah adds if users were deleting their posts, its because they felt like they were competing with celebrities and they could never be on an even playing field. “We thought this was one of the most effective ways to even that playing field”.
At the F8 Conference 2019, on similar lines, Mosseri had mentioned, “We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about”.
Shah states, they were aware of the trade-offs while going into the tests and they are comfortable with it. This may also indicate a reduction in post engagement in the areas where the tests are live.
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Clickable Links On Feed Posts & Reshares
Shah explains both of these features change the incentive of why people post and affect the dynamics of the platform.
If a user is posting to share a link, as opposed to sharing a moment, it changes why the user is posting. Similarly, if a user reshares content from someone they follow, they’re sharing something they have not originally created, it changes the reason why their follower seed something in their feed.
Consequently, for simplicity and a sense of control, “we explicitly are not going to make those changes”.
In other news, Instagram is testing a sticker that shows your location on a World map. Location is one of the popular stickers on the platform and the new version is currently unreleased.