Celebrities and influencers are furious at Instagram's experiment with hiding likes, and some are threatening to stop posting on the app

nicki minaj
  • Instagram will start testing a feature that hides "like" counts on posts for some US users starting this week.
  • Celebrities and influencers have expressed outrage with the experimental feature, arguing that it weakens their leverage over brand deals and promotions.
  • But a few celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, have praised the decision.
  • The feature has already been piloted in seven countries including Australia, Ireland, and Canada.

Instagram is testing a new feature in the US this week that could be its most controversial yet: hiding the number of "likes" on posts.

The new feature, announced by Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri on Friday, is being met with strong backlash, especially from many influencers and celebrities.Advertisement

The feature has already been piloted in seven countries including Australia, Ireland, and Canada in recent months. When it was rolled out there, influencers complained that hiding likes would give them less leverage over brand deals and sponsored content.

Now, American celebrities are calling out the app for experimenting with removing likes, with some threatening to stop posting to Instagram entirely. Others took to Twitter to joke about the proposed changes.

But some, including Kim Kardashian, have heralded Instagram's decision as a boon to users' mental health.
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Here's what influencers and celebrities are saying about the new feature that hides likes on Instagram.

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Nicki Minaj threatened to stop posting on Instagram if the feature goes into effect.

Nicki Minaj threatened to stop posting on Instagram if the feature goes into effect.

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

— Mrs. Petty (@NICKIMINAJ) November 9, 2019

Minaj went on to speculate that Instagram is hiding likes in order to manipulate what posts users see in their feed, regardless of how much engagement posts are getting.

Minaj went on to speculate that Instagram is hiding likes in order to manipulate what posts users see in their feed, regardless of how much engagement posts are getting.

Minaj apparently referred to the well-documented phenomenon of YouTube view counts fluctuating after videos are posted, which can happen when YouTube determines views come from bots or other fraudulent sources.

And who do you think is controlling those numbers? so that influencers can be out here “influencing” ppl to LIKE all the new stuff they bout to do? They gotta get y’all on board to spread the word. Just like how YouTube can take away or add a million views @ any given moment 😛 https://t.co/7Bqz0QbRvI

— Mrs. Petty (@NICKIMINAJ) November 10, 2019
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Rapper Juicy J predicted backlash against the change, tweeting that he expects people to leave Instagram and go "back to real life."

Rapper Juicy J predicted backlash against the change, tweeting that he expects people to leave Instagram and go "back to real life."

Instagram is getting rid of the “likes”😂 time to go back to real life 😂😂😂 niggaz finna spazz

— juicy j (@therealjuicyj) November 9, 2019

Cardi B took to Instagram to protest the feature, arguing that removing likes wouldn't make Instagram any less toxic because "the comments affect more than the likes."

Cardi B took to Instagram to protest the feature, arguing that removing likes wouldn't make Instagram any less toxic because "the comments affect more than the likes."
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Rapper Rico Nasty said the decision to hide likes will "kill Instagram."

Rapper Rico Nasty said the decision to hide likes will "kill Instagram."

Damn they really gonna kill Instagram how they did MySpace .... what a time y’all see y’all on the new app 😘🙀

— TACOBELLA (@Rico_nastyy) November 10, 2019

But some people view the decision to hide likes as a good thing, including Kim Kardashian West.

But some people view the decision to hide likes as a good thing, including Kim Kardashian West.

"As far as mental health… I think taking the likes away and taking that aspect away from [Instagram] would be really beneficial for people," Kardashian West said during The New York Times DealBook conference last week.

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Tracee Ellis Ross also voiced support for removing likes, stating that the like count "has adverse effects. It creates a culture that isn’t helpful for wellbeing and isn’t fruitful for creative energy.”

Tracee Ellis Ross also voiced support for removing likes, stating that the like count "has adverse effects. It creates a culture that isn’t helpful for wellbeing and isn’t fruitful for creative energy.”

Ross made the statement during a panel discussion with Mosseri facilitated by WIRED last week.

And some influencers have argued that the number of likes on a post is irrelevant compared to other metrics like follower counts and impressions.

And some influencers have argued that the number of likes on a post is irrelevant compared to other metrics like follower counts and impressions.

Karen Civil, a social media strategist, made the case that influencers shouldn't pay too much attention to how many likes their posts get.

What sounds more impressive as a business:

I paid for an ad and the post has a reach of 10k followers and was shared 500 times and lead to 320 clicks on the link in the influencer bio

Or:

I paid for an ad and it got 9,000 likes.#CivilChat

— Karen Civil 🇭🇹 (@KarenCivil) November 9, 2019
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