Social Media Giant Considering Making Designations Private, Instituting Comment Warning Feature That Gives Users Chance To 'Undo'


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Could the “Like” button as we know it on Instagram be changing?

The head of the social media giant says it’s possible.

The company says it is experimenting with ways to fight online bullying, and that means a possible plan to make Like counts under posts private, meaning only you could see the number of them on your page, not other users, CBSN New York’s Alice Gainer reported Wednesday.

Instagram is also working to prevent interference in the 2020 election.

Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, told CBS This Morning that “well being” is its top priority now.

“We don’t want Instagram to be such a competition. We want it to be a place where people spend more of their energy connecting with the people they love and the things they care about,” Mosseri said.

That means potentially making Likes private, so only you can see the number on your own post.

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The idea of hiding Likes seems to be disliked by some young teens.

“We wouldn’t post as much because it’s just what are you posting for if you’re not, you know, interacting with your followers,” one teen said.

“Although the amount of Likes has a negative effect on people, it brings up some kids’ self-esteem,” another said.

“If I have a post and it gets under 200 Likes, I just delete it,” another teen said.

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Some say they’ll take upwards of 200 photos just to get one to post to Instagram, and when asked if they had ever been cyber-bullied, an entire group of teens raised their hands.

Pew Research says about 72 percent of teenagers use Instagram.

Instagram (Photo: CBSN New York)

“We are going to make decisions that mean people use Instagram less if we think it’s better for our people’s well being,” Mosseri said.

Even, he said, if it affects the company’s bottom line.

Instagram is also testing a comment warning feature using technology that can flag unkind comments and send a message to the user.

“We say, ‘Are you sure you want to say that? Do you want to undo that?’ We don’t block you. We just say, ‘Hey, this looks like it might be unkind. Do you want to undo it?'” Mosseri said.

But what about for people in the business of being liked a lot on Instagram?

Randy Vargas, aka @kidthewhiz, is a 23-year-old with nearly 700,000 followers. For him, Instagram is a full-time job. He said he’s not worried about Likes.

“I don’t think it will affect us at all because I feel like it’s all about the content. If you have great content, then people and your fans will always stay and love it.”

Instagram said it’s also working to prevent interference in the upcoming 2020 election. Mosseri, 36, took this job after 10 years at Facebook. Under his leadership, Facebook was scrutinized for Russian manipulation heading into the 2016 election.

He said Instagram is trying to understand the risks fully, get rid of fake accounts and identify fake information before it goes viral.