… From Facebook!!!

App

Fun fact:  Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 and Whatsapp in 2014… and it seems like this union is one that we would be reminded of more, very soon.

Until recently, Facebook has allowed both apps to run separately on their own names, but it seems Facebook is tired of being the underground sugar daddy and wants both apps to bear the last name, Facebook. Once the change of name process is completed, Instagram and Whatsapp will now be known as Instagram from Facebook and Whatsapp from Facebook respectively. This change of name will take effect on Google Play and App Store and will most likely be used on screen when the app is launched for use.

According to a statement released by Facebook, it said that the reason for renaming both apps is because they make what products and services are part of Facebook very clear. The name change comes on the heels of the announcement by Facebook early in the year on the step to merge Instagram, Whatsapp, and Messenger by the end of 2019 or early 2020 in order to create the best messaging experience for users.

In explaining the reasons for their actions, Facebook has said that the decision is part of their moves to make their platform more privacy-focused and give users a choice to reach their friends from whichever app they prefer with an additional input of end-to-end encryption. Zuckerberg mentioned that all of their actions, both present and subsequently, are in a bid to keep users hooked into the different Facebook apps rather than seek solace in the competition.

In a series of events that have seen the founders of both Instagram and Whatsapp resign from their companies in the past months, complaints of Zuckerberg’s increased grip on the apps despite the agreement to operate autonomously continue to come up. It is believed that Zuckerberg wants to make Instagram and Whatsapp more like Facebook despite their deep-rooted differences, especially as it borders on privacy. 

These deep-rooted differences such as end-to-end encryption, anonymity and the ability to be accessed only by choice is what makes users favor Instagram and Whatsapp over Facebook. In recent times, young people especially teenagers have turned away from the use of Facebook to Instagram and Whatsapp because they consider it more trendy. The fact that Zuckerberg now insists on reminding this same set of users that all along, they were using a product of Facebook is a move that might backfire.

On the other hand, the move to rename some of their popular apps might end up generating more appeal and positive public perception for Facebook. With any luck, Facebook might move from being known as the app that violates users’ privacy and is constantly in data mismanagement scandals to the company that creates trendy and privacy-respected platforms for users.

 

For a social media giant like Facebook, a name change is never simple and they would most probably have to deal with the mechanics behind the change, its effects on their bottom line and public perception, especially after the results of a recent poll conducted on Twitter showed that 71% of users stated a change of name was absolutely not needed.

 

Do you think a name change was necessary?

Instagram Like Count Ban

What is an Instagram post without the like count? This is a question that lots of users on the platform have been asking since the like count ban was announced. A lot of users depend on likes as a tool to measure how well a post is doing and the popularity of the owner of the profile. Although individuals will be able to see the number of likes their post is getting, this information will not be available to their audience. The update is currently being tested in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand while Canada has just finished its own trial.

 

The platform stated the reason for the like count ban is to manage the pressure of social media on mental health as some users are negatively affected by the amount of engagement on their post especially the number of likes compared to the engagement of some other users. Also, the platform claims it wants to get people to focus more on the content (photos and videos) shared, not how many likes they get. 

 

 There has been a lot of opinions on the subject matter, while some are in support, others are against it.  However, the biggest concern is for the Instagram Influencers who have used audience engagement especially likes as a point of reference when trying to determine and reach

and how great a post is doing. They also use it to determine the kind of content their audience is interested in. In the same vein, brands looking to collaborate also use this information to determine which influencer would be perfect to promote their brands.

 

With the new development, influencers would have to include core insights of their page on their portfolio and send them to brands or make an actual post about their page insights on their feed so their audience can see their engagement and how well their page is doing. Another side effect of the like count ban is that comments will become the new likes. Comments will become a critical medium for individuals to measure engagement thereby still putting mental stress on users.

 

Looking at it in retrospect, the likes ban is an avenue for Instagram to make more money from paid advertising. In a recent March 2019 article titled, ‘22+ Instagram stats marketers should not ignore this year’ HootSuite revealed that there are about 25 million business accounts present on Instagram and that out of this number, only about 2 million advertise their services and products on the platform. In present times, very few users engage with an ad that has little likes or even pay attention to whatever product and service the ad is about especially since SMEs can’t afford to put a huge amount of money on advertising. Small business owners and startups would rather spend more on influencers who can put in reviews and have the attention of a large number of followers than invest in paid advertising.

 

However, in a situation where the like count is banned,  users will be more willing to see what the product is about and possibly engage instead of watching out for approval in the form of likes. Increased engagement on ads irrespective of likes will lead to more advertising from businesses and in turn, more revenue for Instagram.

 

The issue now is that if Instagram is doing this for the money, then they are shooting themselves in the foot by banning likes as it as an integral part of their social media platform. It is what makes users come back over and over… the dopamine rush that goes through the body as you see your post being liked over and over, is what makes Instagram, Instagram. 

 

Max Emerson, an LA-based writer, and director with over 1 million followers said, ‘Instagram removing their most tantalizing feature would be like a casino removing the flashing lights, high oxygen saturation, and jackpot announcements.’ 

 

‘To remove likes or not to remove?’ That is the question Instagram has to answer while the rest of us await the imminent life-changing update.