Technology | Thursday, November 14, 2019
Instagram, one of the world’s largest social media platforms with over one billion users just announced that they are testing making the number of hearts a post on its platform gets invisible for users of the platform. The Account owner still gets to see the number of likes on their posts.
Instagram started testing out this in Canada in April and has also tested with Users of the Platform in Japan and Brazil and is currently moving to the United States where it has the largest market with over 106 million users of the platform.
“The idea”, according to Adam Mosseri, Instagram’s boss, “is to try and reduce anxiety and social comparisons, specifically with an eye towards young people.” “What we’re hoping to do is depressurize Instagram a little bit, and make it a bit less of a competition.”
This announcement is coming after several studies have put Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at the center of the dialogue on e-health and smartphone addiction.
Instagram Numbers in Nigeria
In 2018, Nairametrics reported that out of the over 100 million internet-connected phone users, 22 million actively use Social Media monthly. In that Report by the Terragon Group, Digital Trends for Nigeria 2018, Instagram was quoted as having over 5.7 million active users with the percentage of Users between 18 – 34 years pegged at 69%.
Napoleooncat.com stated that “in 2019, there were 6,972,000 Instagram users in Nigeria in January 2019. This was an increase of about 17% increase from the previous year”.
The ‘Influencers’ Angle
This decision by Instagram may affect influencers who rely on the likes they have on their posts as social proof to marketers and businesses of all products. While Cristiano Ronaldo, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and Selena Gomez may not be much affected as their place as influencers have been stamped in time and the hearts of top marketing managers, same may not be true for other influencers who do not have such repute yet.
Kim Kardashian had said while speaking at the New York Times DealBook conference last Wednesday that the Instagram team has been discussing the changes with select users to get feedback. Kardashian who has 151 million Instagram followers and regularly receives more than 1 million likes on her posts said, “It would be beneficial and that makes me happy.”
This means that smaller influencers may have to actively position themselves in front of marketers to work as promoters of their brands using, say a snapshot of their reach and number of hearts since it will now not be visible how much engagements each of their posts garner.
In Nigeria, there are thousands of social media influencers scattered across various industries. This Instagram policy will shock these influencers as they would need to influence marketers again that their influence on products will go a long way in increasing engagements ad helping them convert.
A welcome development
The Instagram policy, although not implemented worldwide yet, will help reduce the pressure on Nigerians especially the young bent on seeking validation from the platform and many who continue to push their ‘limits’ just to increase the number of hearts for each image they share.