Instagram is getting rid of likes. It means that you can still give a like to a post, but the counter is hidden. You can still tap on the likes list, you can also see all the people who gave a like to somebody's post, but you don't know how many people are in the list.
The only people who share a post will know the number of likes.
Instagram says that they want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get because they want Instagram to be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves and removing the pressure of how many likes a post will receive.
The fact is that Instagram wants to undervalue influencers to increase the incomes from the sponsored posts. The users will underestimate the influencers, the influencers will no longer be so attractive for the companies and users, and everybody will spend more money in ads.
Another important thing to say is that people will be less interested in give a like, reducing the engagement. But it's ok for Instagram because it doesn't need our help to rate a post anymore. During the last years they developed the algorithm, which was already veeery complex, that can now stimate a content, there is a powerful image recognition software so if you share a photo with a dish of pasta with broccoli they know it, and in the next future they will also know what kind of ingredients are in the image and what's the recipe. The same happens with captions (which is not a news) and of course hashtags. It's not a secret that now if you use more than x hashtags you will be penalized.
They actually don't need our interactions as before, they need more contents to feed the machine, and with this change people will be less afraid of posting.
The fact is that the owners of Facebook and Instagram want to make Instagram less about the likes and more about the content, increasing the competition, creating more problem and offering a solution in $, reducing the fake likes bought on internet and bots power at the same time.