The truth behind the removal of likes on Instagram and Facebook

Facebook and Instagram – the two leading social media channels are gradually removing likes from their platforms. According to the Facebook executives, the move is to harbor better mental and emotional health. It will also take out the sense of competition that arises between the users from the network.

Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild Facebook has been dealing with a plethora of criticism lately. Although privacy issues are the main reason for backlash, many critics and lawmakers are also accusing Facebook and Instagram to play with the user’s mental health. In fact, many users who shy away from these social networks struggle with FOMO (or the Fear of Missing Out) since most of their peers take an active part in building connections.

Several studies also found that the use of social media could indirectly put the user at risk of bullying, affect their sleeping, and exercise patterns. The UK’s Royal Society for Public Health also published a report where they deemed Instagram as the worst social media platform.

In their response, Facebook began making a few changes that may potentially improve the mental health of its user base. One of the moves expected by Instagram is to limit the young demographics from seeing posts related to cosmetic surgery and weight loss.

Another initiative is to hide the likes counter on the posts. Instagram head Adam Mosseri says that the move will improve the user’s mental wellbeing and make people more comfortable with expressing themselves.

However, the influencer community is not very happy with the change. They anticipate that hiding likes on their posts will affect the engagement with their followers and decrease revenue in the end. In this regard, Adam Mosseri says that they will make decisions that hurt businesses if it improves their user’s mental health and wellbeing.


As expected, the critic community is not satisfied with the actions as well. They say that hiding likes is just a small gesture to make their platform free from toxicity. They also say that since the person who posts the content will continue to see the number of counts they get on their posts, the sense of social comparison will prevail.

A psychology professor, Renee Engeln, at Northwestern University says that Facebook and Instagram should focus on the bigger picture. She says that a good chunk of the content posted on Instagram emphasizes on ‘very skinny bodies’ and ‘flawless skin.’ However, an average individual is unable to attain the level of perfection portrayed on Instagram using natural methods – thus a need for weight loss supplements and cosmetic surgeries arises.

As of yet, Facebook is limiting the number of posts related to unrealistic body image for minor users. But psychologists say that more effort is needed. Additionally, they recommend the users to be more proactive and curate their timeline so they are least exposed to harmful content that makes them feel embarrassed or jealous.

It is also suggested the users take more precautions when they post content on social media networks like Facebook and Instagram. Double-checking them to ensure that they are not hurtful to any person will help make the social media platfrms cleaner from any type of negativity.


Photo: PixieMe / Shutterstock

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