The Instagram Like Ban: What it Means and Why it’s Happening

We’re here to discuss the Instagram like ban that’s been throwing influencers all over the world for a loop ➰.

But before we get into the like ban, it’s important to understand how Instagram functions as a social media 🌐 platform.  

How Instagram 🤳 works

For those of you who are unfamiliar, here’s the basic function of Instagram:

On Instagram, individuals can post pictures and videos that other users 👯, who may or may not follow their page, can see. Photos and videos can be edited with filters and captions 💬, which often contain hashtags #️⃣. 

Once this content is uploaded, other users may “like” it by double-tapping the image or pressing the ❤️ button. Additionally, users may comment on others’ posts.

The like ban

Back in April of 2019, Instagram launched a test in Australia, Canada, and Japan that eliminated users’ abilities to see the number of likes 👍 on others’ posts. In this test, the creator of a post could see the number of likes they accumulated, but other users could not. 

Since April, Instagram has begun rolling out this test in more countries, including the United States, and we’re just beginning to see the effects. 

Take, for example, an influencer with over 200,000 followers 👥 who used to get upwards of 20,000 likes per day. After the like ban, she is now down to about 1,000 likes per day. That’s a big problem. 

Here’s why:

What’s the big deal about Instagram likes? 

For everyday users:

👍 For everyday Instagram users, likes are pretty big ego-boosters. Getting a like on a photo or video you’ve posted feels good ☺️. It’s not an integral function of the social media platform, but it definitely is a popular one.

❗ For advertisers: 

👍 Advertisers and brands, however, depend on the number of likes per influencer post to determine how many people will actually see ,and in turn buy 🛒, their product when it’s featured by these individuals. 

In other words, likes can often determine the market status 📈 of a brand’s product so they can track the success of their marketing efforts.

Without the ability to view likes, many advertisers will lose a significant part of Instagram’s marketing benefits. As a result, less companies and brands are approaching influencers for deals. 

For influencers:

👍 Likes act as a form of credibility on social media, especially for influencers. 

When you see a post with 10,000 likes, you’re more likely to buy whatever that post is “selling,” whether it’s a product, an idea, or even a feeling, because it’s been identified as popular and good quality 👌. 

Plus, the more likes an influencer has, the more you’re bound give them a #follow ➕. 

Additionally, likes have some financial 💰 effects on influencers. 

Sometimes influencers are paid per like, often in cash or products. In this way, likes act as a type of currency between influencers and advertisers. 

However, since the overall like count has decreased ⬇️, influencers who are paid per like are losing out 📉 on a lot of income. 

Why a like ban?

The social media platform has provided the following explanation for their like ban:

Instagram doesn’t want likes to be a competition ⚔️.

Instagram cited mental health 🏥 issues and the negativity of “competing” for likes online as the reasoning behind their recent changes. They claim that influencers become consumed with the concept of likes and actually become #depressed 😓 when they don’t receive as many as expected.

Additionally, a copyright strike on Instagram claims that they want people to engage more authentically with comments ✍️, as opposed to likes. 

Is this the truth?

Call me skeptical, but huge companies like Facebook, which owns Instagram, don’t make substantial changes to their platform unless they have a financial incentive. 

The reality is, Instagram is not ❌ making the world 🌎 a better place by decreasing the competition for likes.

So then, what’s the deal?

In my opinion, Instagram is doing away with likes in order to end 🔚 the current state of influencer marketing on the platform. 

The benefit of ending influencer marketing on Instagram

At the moment, Instagram does not derive any income 💳 from a private deal between an influencer and a brand.

Think about it this way: Instagram provides a free platform for influencers to earn a profit without taking a cut! It’s not exactly the best business model 🤷‍♂️. 

If Instagram does away with likes, companies will have no incentive to advertise with influencers because their ROI, or return on investment, is immeasurable. Instead, brands will skip ⏭️ the middleman and advertise directly with Instagram

Others who are more skeptical than I believe that Instagram is banning likes to get people riled up and angry 😡 about the situation only to slowly begin reintroducing likes – but with a catch.

These people believe that Instagram will begin charging users to view 👁️ the number of likes a photo or video has accumulated. For example, perhaps sometime in the future individuals will pay $2.99 or even $9.99 each month for the ability to view likes. 

This way, Instagram can get a piece of the money 💸 between the influencer and the brand. 

So, Instagram is cutting out likes due to a financial incentive – but what does this mean for creators and influencers? What does the future hold for us? Click here to check out my predictions 🔮.