Instagram and Facebook will be testing a new feature that gives users the option of hiding the Like counts on their posts.
Instagram has been experimenting with hiding the Like count since 2019. It’s long been known that the pressure some people feel to get huge numbers of Likes can lead to mental health issues, especially in those teens who equate social media popularity with self-worth. Moreover, people tend to gravitate toward popular posts rather than discovering new content that might not be receiving as much exposure.
TechCrunch reports that the experiments became less of a priority last year as Covid-19 hit, which forced Instagram to concentrate more on features that support users. Now, it is examining the feedback from those tests.
How Instagram looks when the Likes are hidden, courtesy of Jane Manchun Wong
As suspected, not everyone appreciates their Like counts being taken away. Social media influencers often use these numbers to quantify their value to advertisers and partners, and some users want to know what’s popular and trending.
The best way to keep everyone happy, it seems, is to offer people the choice of whether they want to hide their Likes. A small percentage of global Instagram users will be part of this new test. Those who do decide to hide the Likes publicly will still see the counts and engagements through analytics.
Facebook, which has also been experimenting with hiding the counts, will begin similar tests in the coming weeks. There’s no word on how long the experiments will last or when we might see the features rolled out to everyone.