By Nic White for Daily Mail Australia
Instagram is hiding how many ‘likes’ a post has to rake in more cash from advertisers, not to aid the mental health of its users, experts claim.
The social media giant stopped the like count showing up on each post in July to stop users obsessively measuring their worth by their numbers.
‘We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love,’ it said.
Tammy Hembrow, who boasts 10 million followers, vowed to delete her Instagram account in protest of it hiding post likes
‘We are rethinking the whole experience of Instagram to address issues around wellbeing and to ensure the Instagram community has a positive experience on our platform.’
However, marketing experts claim this is a ‘bulls**t’ excuse to get businesses spending ad dollars by making it easier for them to compete with influencers.
‘Let’s stop the bulls**t that this recent change is about reducing the incidence of mental health among their users,’ Murmur boss Dave Levett said.
‘It’s about raising ad revenue for the platform, and make Instagram more appealing for small businesses and brands to pump dollars into the growing social behemoth.’
Mr Levett said influencers were making millions selling everything from cosmetics to protein shakes, but Instagram saw none of the revenue.
‘Instagram wants businesses spending money on its platform instead of with influencers. This is purely a money play,’ he said.
More than 25 million businesses have Instagram profiles but only two million buy ads, often because their engagement is dwarfed by bikini girls and fitness bloggers.
‘Small and medium businesses aren’t posting or buying ads because they don’t want to have low engagement. If their ads or posts only get a few likes it’s a bad look.’
Another marketing insider said buying an ad on Instagram was an ‘industry joke’ because they were so ineffective.
Instagrammer Mikaela Testa, who has fewer than 50,000 followers, went on an extraordinary tearful rant slamming Instagram’s ‘like’ ban as causing ‘real damage out here’
‘Instagram took so long to implement a viable algorithm that all these ‘influencers’ took it into their own hands,’ they said.
‘Instagram is a ‘likes-first’ platform and naturally, ads don’t get a lot of likes, which has the effect of making often reputable products appear fake or unpopular.’
Mr Levett said by hiding how many likes a post has, Instagram can level the playing field and take away ‘the barrier of social proof’ that gives advertisers pause.
‘Those advertisers will now likely see an increase in engagement, an increase in click through rate, an increase in sales, and thereby pump more dollars into the platform,’ he said.
Mr Levett said if Instagram was serious about mitigating the mental health impacts the platform had on users, it would instead implement the recommendations of a recent report by the British Royal Society for Public Health.
Comment has been sought from Instagram.