In hopes of reducing social media stress, Instagram will start to hide “likes” on post, a feature on the app since day one.
After some rumors, it’s finally happening: Instagram is hiding their like counts. This new measure is the biggest change in some time on the social media site, one that could potentially influence how a lot of people make their income.
This process began a few months ago in April, when Instagram rolled out the feature to a sample of select users in Canada and later expanding into other parts of the world. As of this week, small subsets of Instagram users in the U.S. and in every country can no longer see their like counts, with the app tweeting that they’ve adapted correctly to the changes.
Starting today, we’re expanding our test of private like counts globally. If you’re in the test, you’ll no longer see the total number of likes and views on photos and videos posted to Feed unless they’re your own. pic.twitter.com/DztSH0xiq2
— Instagram (@instagram) November 14, 2019
This is a big change that will have clear implications for lots of users. While those who have large follower counts and enjoy looking at those hundreds of likes will be annoyed, people who do business on Instagram could be seriously affected. “Likes” have been a part of the app since the beginning, affecting the mystical Instagram post algorithm and the order in which you see posts from users you follow and from the discover page. There’s also the fact that a lot of endorsements and partnerships rely on like counts. This has been the basis of social media influencers since the term was first conceived.
“Starting today, we’re expanding our test of private like counts to the rest of the world beyond Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, and New Zealand. If you’re in the test, you’ll no longer see the total number of likes and views on photos and videos posted to Feed unless they’re your own. While the feedback from early testing has been positive, this is a fundamental change to Instagram, and so we’re continuing our test to learn more from our global community,” said an Instagram spokesperson to TechCrunch.
A change as radical as this is something that I find very exciting, one that goes further than changing a logo or adding new filters. People have long criticized the negative impact social media has on mental health and no app is more responsible for this than Instagram. Will this change solve our crippling addiction to social media? Probably not. But maybe it’ll push people to post pictures that are more fun and out of the norm, without having to worry about the fact that they’ll attract no likes. That counts for something.