One of Instagram’s most defining and addictive features is the “like.” Seeing this number rise is basically pavlovian, keeping you checking your feed your hours. The feature is the most recognizable part of the app and has become the most reliable way of measuring engagement with followers.
While at first liking posts made the app simple and fun, it’s now become a source of stress for many users, motivating Instagram to consider hiding the like count from everyone except the person who created the post.
Code hunter Jane Wong was the first to discover this function, uploading a screenshot through Twitter and explaining that Instagram wanted followers to focus on what’s being shared instead of the overall likes.
Instagram is testing hiding like count from audiences,
as stated in the app: “We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get” pic.twitter.com/MN7woHowVN
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) April 18, 2019
“We’re not testing this at the moment, but exploring ways to reduce pressure on Instagram is something we’re always thinking about,” the company explained to The Verge.
Although hiding the like count from other Instagram users could reduce anxiety and make the experience a more liberating one, it would also uproot the way in which Instagram influencers conduct business and operate their platforms. Likes are what encourage people to post and what ultimately facilitate business opportunities. “The more engagement you have the higher chance of you getting more sponsorships and collaborations,” says beauty influencer Nanite Jean-Aimee.
The like count is a large part of what makes Instagram the world’s favorite app. Hiding it could transform the experience into something else entirely.