Influencers Cannot Be Liking Instagram Hiding Likes

What will the long term impact be?



For many the news is catastrophic. Instagram announced on Friday, November 8, 2019 that they will be hiding likes from audiences of many United States based users. Although this is already done in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Italy and Canada this earth-shattering change for the US market was set for the second week of November.

According to @Wired, “Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announces that the platform will start hiding likes for US audiences starting next week. It's the latest step in Instagram’s quest to become the safest place on the internet.”
 

So what will become of the “Instagram Influencer” if likes cannot be readily seen?  As likes and followers are readily available for sale through bot services how are those with a fortune reliant on their likes to adjust? Are user's abilities to maintain and grow influence over followers tied to audiences being able to see likes? Many think so.
“WIRED's Arielle Pardes talked to Mosseri and actor and producer Tracee Ellis Ross, best known for her starring role in the television series Black-ish. Ross recently launched Pattern Beauty, a curly hair care company. Instagram sales serve as its main source of revenue, according to Ross.
Balancing the needs of artists, brands, and the average user is difficult. But Mosseri emphasized that Instagram will always place the needs of people first. "It means we’re going to put a 15-year-old kid’s interests before a public speaker’s interest," he says. "When we look at the world of public content, we’re going to put people in that world before organizations and corporations." As a business owner who happens to rely on Instagram, Ross agrees. “As much as I love a high roller,” she said, laughing, “I think it has adverse effects. It creates a culture that isn’t helpful for well-being and isn’t fruitful for creative energy.””
 

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey praised Facebook's experimental moves to hide Instagram 'likes' according to Business Insider. No word if they will do the same, but Dorsey is said to be considering it. Rapper Cardi B was quoted by DazedDigital, “If anything is affecting Instagram right now, I really feel it’s the way the comments have been done or have been changing these past few years.” She continued: “Because I feel people been saying the most weirdest shit, been starting the craziest arguments, been starting to race bait, all because of comments, because they want to get to the top, they want to get the most reactions.”

 

Cards B made the further point that in her opinion being able to like comments or comment back to others in the comment section incentivized posters to become increasingly provocative. How Instagram will impact conversations in the comment sections is currently unknown aside from the reality that taking away “likes” will take away one of the key indicators of who the Instagram Influencers actually are and likely create significant business disruption for many.
Rapper Nicki Minaj @nickiminaj, posted her plans about the Instagram change, “I’m not posting on IG after this week cuz they removing the likes. Hmmmm what should I get into now? Think of all the time I’ll have with my new life.”

HypeAuditor stats show that the removal of likes in all the other markets where it has been done has reduced likes for the majority of Instagram Influencers with a slight boost for those in Japan having between 100k & a million followers. We have seen no data to indicate why the losses occurred or if Influencers behavior changed that might have led to the decreases, but regardless the change will shake things up benefitting some while harming others one way or the other. If you benefit from your use of Instagram doubtlessly you will strive to continue to do so. Those who have struggled may give up or depending on how they adjust their approach to improve their standing on the platform. Remember that good quality content and consistent, regular effort is usually rewarded. 

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According to CNBC, "Nearly three quarters of Gen Z and millennials in the U.S. follow influencers on social media, and the majority said they trust influencers more than their favorite celebrities when it comes to advice about brands or products, according to a new report.

But young people don’t only trust influencers, they want to be them: 86% of Gen Z and millennials surveyed would post sponsored content for money, and 54% would become an influencer given the opportunity, according to the report by research firm Morning Consult, which surveyed 2,000 Americans ages 13 to 38 about influencer culture." Based on such findings one can assume Instagram has a steady grip on their userbase regardless of how much shift the loss of "like awareness" impacts the current crop of Influencers.

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