Are “likes” out of fashion in the world of social networks?

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Like or dislike? On almost all social networks, the little “Like” has served as fuel for the ego-nomics of the Web.

Fortunes were built on thumbs up. Personalities have emerged from this popular and permanent vote of approval.

At first we loved to love. It was a cool gesture. Imperceptibly, we have all become media about ourselves, seeking audiences and seeking approval via Likes. And this quest for approval has both brought out talents and created monsters.

Because this systematic judgment of our publications, photos, actions and gestures has become the criticism of our lives and the consequences have been simply disastrous.

An internal study by the Meta group, revealed by a leak last year, showed, among other things, that Instagram weighs heavily on the mental health of young girls. With the multitude of retouched and filtered photos posted on the image-centric social network, young users have developed new complexes.

According to a survey conducted by Edelman for Dove, 71% of girls said they modified or concealed a body part before posting a photo on social media. Nearly three in ten girls (29%) admitted to feeling less beautiful after looking at photos of their friends online.

Young and depressed: the ransom of likes

Addiction to social networks, suffering for lack of likes, provocation in search of likes… The “nice” Like has become a grimace. So much so that platforms and brands have found themselves forced to question this order established on Facebook, Instagram or even Twitter and YouTube.

Last May, Instagram and Facebook toyed with the idea of ​​getting rid of the “Like” button… or at least the possibility of activating or deactivating it. The results of the various test phases showed that removing the display of the number of likes helps some people relieve the pressure, explained Instagram.

YouTube, meanwhile, has embraced almost the same change. If Instagram preferred to activate the possibility of hiding “likes”, the video platform chose to erase the number of “dislikes” visible under each video, an option only available on YouTube. If the platform wants to reduce the harassment of creators targeted by hate raids, they can still discover the number of “dislikes” of their videos in YouTube Studio to better adapt their content to their community.

Brands are leaving social media

These developments, which are still fairly limited in scope, could be boosted by new brand strategies. Cosmetics brand Lush caused a stir in late November when it quit social media in 48 countries. A carefully considered choice: “This decision is the result of a long reflection on these platforms and their misdeeds on their users”, confides Chloé Chazot, head of communication France of Lush. The brand has chosen to suspend its accounts on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat but to remain on Twitter as well as on YouTube.

What if views were more important than likes?

To adapt to both demand and dislike of similar people, a gauge that young people use less and less, social networks are turning to new indicators. On TikTok, small hearts also matter, but views seem just as important, if not more so, to make a video go viral in no time. As Instagram accelerates its shift to video, this presents an opportunity to boost views. Time spent viewing a post is the most important engagement metric for platforms. Along with comments, one of the most valuable aspects of social media, which is even more significant than liking the post for Instagram’s algorithm.

This progressive erasure of likes opens a new era on social networks. The social consequences will only be observed gradually. – AFP Relax news

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