Instagram tests hiding ‘like’ counts

Hakim Hayat

Instagram on Thursday started to globally roll out a test to hide the like feature for some users on its platform, in a bid to change the way users, especially younger ones engage with the photo-sharing service.

The Facebook-owned platform had already been testing removing likes in several countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada and Japan and last week, the company said ‘likes’ would be hidden for some United States (US) users, too. Users randomly selected to be part of the test will no longer see the total number of ‘likes’ and ‘views’ on photos and videos in the feed and on profile pages. However, they will still be able to see how many likes on their own posts.

Users can still like content by double tapping on a photo or video, or by pressing the ‘heart’ below a post, but no total for the number of likes will appear. In August, Facebook said the test was meant to “remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive” on Instagram, and that Facebook was “excited by the early test results.”

Instagram tweeted on Thursday that the wave of tests done earlier has been positive, and that “this is a fundamental change to Instagram, and so we’re continuing our test to learn more from our global community”.

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri tweeted Thursday afternoon it’s all about changing how people, especially young users, feel about the social media platform.

Instagram in the statement also acknowledged that ‘like’ counts are important for many creators, and said that they are actively thinking through ways for creators to communicate value to their partners.