Hiding likes on your Instagram profile won’t help

Hiding likes on your Instagram posts is now an option.

According to them, “We tested hiding like counts to see if it might depressurize people’s experience on Instagram.”

Likely this pressure comes from people who are addicted to social media, social approval, and social status. But it won’t help.

Hiding likes on your Instagram profile won't help Pinterest pin

“Depressurizing” your likes

From Cosmopolitan (emphasis mine):

“Some people wonder, ‘If I had an experience or thought that not enough people liked, did it still have value? Do I still have value?‘” says Pamela Rutledge, PhD, director of the Media Psychology Research Center. “More women than ever are relying on social media likes and views to give meaning to their lives, feel validated, and boost their self-esteem.”

From my research, insecure people “need”, and thus seek out, the most external validation. They’re insecure, so they don’t get enough internal validation. This dovetails with my own experience.

That insecurity is caused by comparison, an epidemic that depresses, angers, and kills. The Internet allows us to find someone better than us in any or every way we think of. Envy kicks in, maybe hopelessness, and devastating insecurity. I’m conflicted about fitness models and standards of beauty, but I’ve learned not to seek out those things that hurt me (POMO).

“Likes may be the free, quick, legal crack of our time,” the Cosmopolitan article continues. Likes give tingles. The more likes, the more attractive you feel you are. Why not check every five minutes to see if a new one came in? It even releases oxytocin, the human bonding and “love” hormone, in the brain.

(Does this explain the explosion in OnlyFans accounts? Validation, money, and ease?)

Yet despite all that, “The high of getting a like has a short half-life.” And over time, you need more “hits.” Ten isn’t enough. Only twenty makes me feel good! You develop tolerance.

Performing for likes? Are you a monkey dancing for peanuts?

Put more succinctly…

"Social media takes the human impulse for approval, and warps it by exploitng behavioral tendencies through savvy engineering." - Susan Arico

So, about hiding likes on your Instagram posts.

As of June 4, 2021, you can’t.

Yes, they say you can. But here’s programmer, artist, and tech ethicist Ben Grosser proving that wrong.

to hide them requires 3 taps every time you post
they still show you the count in multiple other places
they are forced on the user with each app load and foregrounded on the notifications

Likes are essential to Instagram’s business model. It helps them target ads and suggest things for you to click on and thus give them more chances to show you ads. So hiding likes isn’t an option. Literally.

It was a nice PR stunt, but they didn’t address the exploding problems of narcissism, entitlement, insecurity, low self-esteem, “need” for external validation, compulsive checking, phubbing, phonecrastination, scroll holes, attention span degradation, and all the other perils.

They even kept the likes notification red so it pops.

But there are alternatives to hiding likes.

First, disable notifications. I don’t have a smartphone, so I can’t show you a screenshot, but it’s easy to find in settings.

Second, consider a blocker. Forest seems nice. Positive motivation instead of negative helps me more. And here’s a list of others.

Third, my favorite, install Instagram Demetricator / Facebook Demetricator / Twitter Demetricator. All of these are developed and maintained by Ben Grosser, the programmer I mentioned above.

As of June 4, 2021:

  • Instagram Demetricator was banned from the Chrome web store (told you they have no interest in removing the likes feature), and it only works on Firefox. That’s a HUGE shame, because more people use Instagram on their phone than a computer.
  • He’s rewriting Facebook Demetricator to work with the latest update.
  • Twitter Demetricator is perfect.

After that, we have the fun options.

  • Don’t throw away your phone! (recycle it)
  • Get a dumbphone (flip phone), like me
  • Delete your accounts
  • Stop comparing yourself to impossible standards, choose not to look at things that cause you POMO, realize that someone (possibly) wicked thrust those standards on you to (possibly) make you buy something, and build self-worth to detach the “need” for external validation through likes.
All forms of self-hatred arise from comparison.
  • Or grow your internal validation (see below)

Why hiding likes won’t work, even if you could

Exile is the longest-lasting form of torture. We’re social animals, and we need validation.

But insecurity arises from comparison. From what you view.

Tools are best when you build things, not when you smash yourself in the head with them.

So you’ll have to replace external validation with internal validation. The best way to do that is to make small steps every day toward your life’s purpose, or, instead, any steps on the way to any goal.

Others disparage your path? You don’t need their validation. You choose whether someone’s opinion matters to you.

Someone new will always smirk and tell you how you’re not “good enough.” Prove them wrong. Life isn’t one hierarchy, one pyramid. Find another. So you’re low status in one pyramid. Be high status in another. Or build your own damn pyramid.

Self-esteem pyramids: low in one skill, pick another!

I find value in responsibility. This blog and my support group insist on discipline. Responsibility may give meaning to life, that is, unselfishness, giving, with little or no desire for likes.

Fourteen articles in, the most reads I’ve gotten on an article is four. But I’ll keep on; I visualize the person I might be helping.

Why? Because meaning (and thus validation) may be the intersection of responsibility, purpose, interest, and talent. Or put another way…

Ikigai (life purpose): the intersection of what you love, what you're good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for.
© sloww.co

I don’t need your likes. I swim against the tide, which, by the way, induces high self-esteem.

Find a way to do that.

A woman on her phone (labeled "you") ignores a man shouting in a loudspeaker just behind her (labeled "your needs")
Snap out of it.

Final note: accountability begins with you

I don’t expect hiding likes to ever be implemented on any social media platform. Likely this was a stunt couched in compassionate language to appeal to the more gullible. They say they’re helping, so people who read their press release can defend them with “they’re trying,” but they don’t mention the cataclysmic problems they created, and they don’t fix anything.

Boo.

As someone who (maybe this time?) overcame porn addiction rooted in external validation and devastatingly low self-worth caused by improbable standards, I know how hard it is to tear yourself away from the source of pleasure and pain. But accountability begins with you.

Don’t expect the bad guys to have a change of heart. Change your own heart.

Highs generate addiction. The more you rely on them to make you feel better about your underlying problems, the more you will seek them out. In this sense, almost anything can become addictive. We all have our chosen methods to numb the pain of our problems, and in moderate doses there is nothing wrong with this. But the longer we avoid and the longer we numb, the more painful it will be when we finally do confront our issues.
- Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***
"Recovery isn't denying the need, it's replacing the bad stuff with good stuff until the good stuff tastes better."
- Dan


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