Social media platform Instagram has removed the total likes on posts.

Unless you have been living under a rock with no WiFi, you might have noticed something different about Instagram.

The social media platform has rolled out a trial across several countries, which has removed the total number of likes on feeds and profiles.

Users will still be able to see how many likes their own post receives yet, they cannot access that information of other accounts.

esprit chats with Yelena Fairfax, founder of  Husskie, the influencer-focused website and Ali Shoraka, industry veteran and Foreo GM. But first we have a snapshot of the ‘no likes’ scenario.

Starting in Canada back in May 2019, the trial is now in Australia and has since been introduced to several other countries.

The move was an effort by Instagram to reduce the pressure on users of the platform, with many punters and influencers alike becoming obsessed with the popularity contest of receiving likes.

And like (pun intend) with any change, it was met with its fair share of backlash.

NYC based influencer Caila Quinn was not in favour as she believes it will encourage users to engage less with content.

“They [users] won’t get the instant gratification of being able to see that they are contributing to an image’s performance. The ‘like’ is a powerful thing and we shouldn’t take it for granted,” Caila told Allure.

While several media outlets have jumped on stories about complaints from the community, Editor and Founder of Husskie Yelena Fairfax says most are very happy with the change.

“The circle of influencers I am regularly in contact with are all so happy about it, and I am talking about girls with over a million followers, through to girls in the hundreds of thousands,” says Yelena.

Yelena is one of the most qualified in the business to comment on how this change will impact the platform. She launched Husskie in 2016 as an influencer-focused fashion, beauty and lifestyle website.

She works closely with the world’s top Instagram accounts to shed light on life behind the filter and believes the change makes for a more candid platform.

“I think the more Instagram has become someone’s career and there is so much business associated with it, there is more pressure regarding likes and followers,” says Yelena.

“It’s become about the reach and how it performs, more so than the quality of the post. By removing that pressure, we’re are going to see people posting a lot more about what they want to post.”

From a business perspective, Yelena believes the trial will foster authentic relationships between brands and influencers.

“What we will see is businesses will pay more attention to whether they actually like an account and what someone is producing,” says Yelena.

“I think we are going to see brands start to really look at the content more carefully and then go ‘that person is the perfect fit – now I’ll get the metrics’, instead of getting the metrics and going ‘we will make this person fit’.”

Swedish beauty-tech brand Foreo is a business which understands Instagram is a key strategy to build connections with its audience.


Foreo GM Ali Shoraka believes there are other indicators which provide information on an account’s performance.

“Looking at a potential partner’s ‘comments’ together with the quality of the content and the information we can draw from Instagram Insights will provide enough data for us to make an educated decision. Brand consideration and advocacy are the end goals and ‘likes’ are not the sole representation of this, but it will be interesting to see how this unfolds. This could very well be the start of a new way to do influencer marketing,” says Ali.

As to whether this initiative will stick, Yelena is confident.

“I do think it will stick. It just got rolled out to six more countries, so that is now eight.”

But if she could make one suggestion on what Instagram could do to make everyone happy, it would be to reinstate a chronological feed as opposed to the current algorithm.

“But at the end of the day, they are a business. Keeping the algorithm might not be the move that everyone wants, but it’s the most commercial one.”

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