Who is Adam Mosseri? Instagram head who wants ‘like’ counts removed was influenced by Netflix's ‘Black Mirror’

It's already live in several countries and will be global by the end of the year


                            Who is Adam Mosseri? Instagram head who wants ‘like’ counts removed was influenced by Netflix's ‘Black Mirror’
Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, and team are working on ways to reduce body image issues most teens have (mosseri/Instagram)

Back in November 2019, Instagram began testing the removal of the public likes counter on its platform. A key part of the Instagram experience, likes are central to how influencers make money and people view their popularity. By January 2020, many users could no longer see the number of likes another person's photo had. It's a massive shift for the company, billed as an attempt to get users to “focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get." 

But who exactly is responsible for this? It turns out it is none other than the head of Instagram himself — Adam Mosseri. A 12-year veteran of Facebook, Mosseri was the key architect of the controversial shift that is now global. Dubbed 'Project Daisy', it is an attempt to get people to change how they use the platform, with Mosseri at the forefront.

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According to the New York Times, Mosseri was influenced by an episode of Black Mirror, a dystopian anthology series on Netflix. He is also learning from his mistakes at Facebook, where the News Feed he helped engineer is now home to fake news and disinformation on a large scale. 

Adam Mosseri with his wife Monica (mosseri/Instagram)

 

Who is Adam Mosseri?

Mosseri didn't start out with the goal of removing likes on social media; it is simply the result of his experiences. The 38-year-old is an Israeli-American born in New York. While studying Information Design at NYU’s Gallatin School, Mosseri started his own design consultancy 'Blank Mosseri'. After graduating in 2005, he had a brief stint as a designer at TokBox, before moving to Facebook. Starting out as a product designer, Mosseri has today become one of Zuckerberg's most trusted aides.

During his time at Instagram's parent company, Mosseri oversaw the development of the News Feed and Facebook Home, the mobile operating system that never really took off. This was followed by a role as the VP of product management at Instagram. Following the high-profile exit of founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Mosseri was named as head of the platform in 2018. 

Mosseri has been at the forefront of a few Facebook scandals, such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Facebook's role in disinformation during the 2016 Presidential Election. It was that experience that helped inform Mosseri about the consequences of social media he has helped create. According to the New York Times report, 'He wants to avoid similar pitfalls at Instagram."

Mosseri currently lives in San Francisco with his wife Monica whom he married in 2013. The couple has two children, Nico and Blaise. 

Instagram no longer shows the number of likes an image has received for many users around the world. (marvelstudios/Instagram)

 

Project Daisy and the end of likes

Project Daisy is Instagram's project to remove the public-like counter on the platform. For users where it is live, they only see "and others" instead of the exact number of likes an image has. It is already live in several countries and will be global by the end of the year. It's an attempt by the company to deal with the ramifications of image issue many teens have.

Until recently, likes were the core currency of Instagram for its younger users. The number of likes has defined how popular users are for well over a decade. It's also the key metric for influencers, the more likes the more money and publicity they receive.

That has come with several downfalls, including a spike in mental health issues and bullying. “Living a life to someone else’s standards of what cool is not a good way to live," Eva Chen, the Director of Fashion told the New York Times. That's exactly what Mosseri wants to do, knowing he has the power to do so. 

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