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Press release content from Globe Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Horizon Media Study Finds Instagram’s Move to Hide Likes is Somewhat of a Collective Shrug, but with a Glimmer of Hope

November 22, 2019

NEW YORK, Nov. 22, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

Horizon Media, the world’s largest independent media agency, today announced findings of its ongoing Finger On The Pulse poll. Each week, Horizon Media tracks and publishes how news and cultural events can shape or shift people’s thinking and behavior.

Recently, Instagram announced they would hide “Likes” on many US users’ posts (this following previous “hidden likes” tests in Canada, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand). As Instagram’s CEO shared, “the idea is to de-pressurize Instagram” and make it a space that’s more focused on connections, conversations and community, especially for young people. Using its Finger on the Pulse panel, Horizon Media asked 479 people a battery of attitudinal questions that sought to gain an immediate perspective on what social media users think about this and whether it’d change behavior.

Horizon Media believes that the majority of social media users, including frequent Instagram platform users, are reacting to Instagram’s decision with, at best, a shrug of the shoulders; it makes some sense to them but it’s not news that generates genuine excitement, is often viewed as unnecessary and, for many, feels like it’s a little like closing the barn door after the horse has already bolted.

The key findings are that of those respondents who answered, some people recognize (primarily from a rational standpoint) the positives that hiding likes can represent, it’s more prevalent that respondents struggle to understand why Instagram is making this decision now and what benefit it’ll truly have – a struggle created via a combination of perceived lack of need, lack of personal relevance and a feeling that Instagram’s decision is simply too late. Among frequent social media users (daily/weekly use), 36% believe Instagram works fine the way it is, 27% state hidden likes will only negatively impact influencers/brands, not real people and 21% recognize it as a too-late attempt to create a safer online environment. These findings are consistent among frequent Instagram users – with 41% being fine with the current Instagram, 26% believing it won’t impact real people and 23% stating it’s too late.

For those who believe it’s a positive decision to hide likes, the research found that among frequent social media users, 22% said it was a good thing as it could reduce mental health issues, 15% said that they’d feel more comfortable posting, and 14% stated that it’d allow them to post more authentic content. These findings were also consistent among daily/weekly users of Instagram. Even among people aged 18-34 and parents with children under 18 at home, the research did not indicate any significant differences than the broader social media and Instagram audiences.

Critically, from a usage standpoint it appears Instagram’s decision will result in a relatively unchanged status quo. Among daily/weekly social media users, 62% would use it the same amount, 19% would use it a little more and 19% said they’d use it less (or even stop). Frequent Instagram users were slightly more positive and represent a glimmer of hope for having this news mean something to Instagram - with 26% saying the news would encourage them to use it more, 55% saying their usage would remain the same and 19% said they’d use it less.

About Horizon Media Horizon Media, Inc. is the largest independent media agency in the world. The company was founded in 1989, is headquartered in New York, and has offices in Los Angeles and Toronto. With estimated billings of $8.7 billion and over 2,300 employees, Horizon is the second largest U.S. media agency according to COMvergence data.

Recognized as one of the world’s ten most innovative marketing and advertising companies by Fast Company, Horizon Media has been named Media Agency of the Year by MediaPost, Adweek and AdAge and is known for its highly personal approach to client service. Renowned for its culture, Horizon is also consistently named to all the prestigious annual Best Places to Work lists published by Fortune, Forbes, AdAge, Crain’s New York Business and Los Angeles Business Journal; including “Best Workplaces for Diversity,” “Best Workplaces for Women,” and “Best Workplaces for Millennials” honors.

Earning the industry’s highest honor, Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder of Horizon Media, was inducted into the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Hall of Fame in 2019.

Contact:Stephen HallCMO, Horizon MediaT: 212-220-1744E: shall@horizonmedia.com