Influencers who falsely inflate their popularity could be put out of business by Instagram’s decision to “hide” likes, according to social media experts.
It comes as the Mark Zuckerberg-owned app has been accused of rolling out the new feature simply as a marketing gimmick rather than a genuine attempt to address its impact on mental health.
Instagram yesterday announced Australian users would no longer see the number of “likes” a post receives, claiming they wanted to “take the competition out of posting”.
The West Australian can also reveal Instagram’s algorithm, which promotes posts with more likes to the top of the feed, will remain the same. Dan Anisse, the vice-president of product at InfluencerDB, said the announcement was bad news for professional Instagrammers who scored brand deals after buying likes.
Social media expert Ross Bark, whose company Best Enemies runs cyber safety workshops in schools, said Instagram would also change its algorithm if it was genuinely concerned about mental health.
“It’s absolutely a business decision to try and get people to post more,” Mr Bark said. “They’re not changing the algorithm so you’ve still got that herd mentality of ‘it’s a competition’.”