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Ugh: Instagram starts hiding Like counts (Update: Expanding worldwide)

Instagram is starting to hide 'likes' on a global basis as part of its testing.

Published onNovember 15, 2019

instagram hide likes - instagram app photo

Update, November 15, 2019 (1:31AM ET): Instagram has announced that it is further expanding its hide “Like” count test globally. The platform confirmed on Twitter that users who are part of the test will no longer be able to see the total number of likes and views on photos and videos, unless the post belongs to them.

Instagram also noted that it is has received positive feedback from early testing in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand.

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.
— Instagram (@instagram) November 14, 2019

For influencers, Instagram says it’s actively looking at ways for them to communicate value to their partners. Are you looking forward to this change though? Let us know in the comments!

Original article, November 11, 2019 (09:39 AM IST): Instagram is expanding its hide “Like” count tests to the US this week. The platform’s head, Adam Mosseri, tweeted out the following announcement on Saturday.

Mosseri first touched upon the removal of like counts in the US during an interview at the Wired 25 event. He later officially tweeted out the confirmation after the publication published his comments in an article.

Heads up! We’ve been testing making likes private on Instagram in a number of countries this year. We’re expanding those tests to include a small portion of people in the US next week. Looking forward to the feedback!
— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) November 9, 2019

With like counts hidden, users will still be able to see the number of people that like their posts. However, they will not be able to see the number of likes on another person’s posts. Instead, posts from someone else’s profile will display — “liked by (one name) and others.”

Instagram screenshots side-by-side showing how to see hidden likes.

Mosseri told Wired, “The idea is to try to depressurize Instagram, make it less of a competition, and give people more space to focus on connecting with the people they love and things that inspire them.” According to the Instagram CEO, the intention is to “reduce anxiety and social comparison.”

The pushback

Instagram has over 110 million users in the US, higher than any other country. Many of those users are unhappy with the move because like counts are a large part of asserting popularity on the platform. Here’s just a small sample of the backlash:

“Looking forward to the feedback” yeh sure you will, once everyone STARTS DELETING INSTAGRAM.
— Kenzie 🦋🧚🏽‍♀️💅🏼😎😱 (@MMarie300) November 9, 2019
literally no one wants this we just want chronological order back… 😐😐
— griffin εïз (@bratphobic) November 9, 2019
Then why have a like button?
Why even upload anything?
Why install instagram?
Who the heck came up with this?
Please move him/her to the feedback department!
— Neil Lobo (@lobo_neil) November 9, 2019

These are just some of the many unhappy reactions from Instagram users in the US. However, there are also those who appreciate the move.

If your reason for sharing is for likes I feel deeply sorry for you
— Matt Payne (@MattPaynePhoto) November 9, 2019
Instagram will be content focused rather than fostering what addicts us. Thank you.
— Annie M (@AnnieMendelsohn) November 9, 2019

Should Instagram hide like counts?

Hidden like counts on Instagram are especially bad for influencers who depend on them for promotional campaigns. It is also a way of determining if the engagement on a post is through real followers or fake ones. On the flip side, comparing like counts can be detrimental to one’s psyche and fuel the fear of missing out.

“We’re going to put a 15-year-old kid’s interests before a public speaker’s interest. When we look at the world of public content, we’re going to put people in that world before organizations and corporations,” Mosseri said of the pushback.

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The only respite for those who don’t want their Instagram like counts hidden in the US is that the testing is limited as of now. Instagram could very well decide to retain the feature if it does not get a positive feedback from the tests.

If like counts do disappear for you on Instagram, you could try out this nifty trick to see them again. We’re not sure if it’ll work in your region, but it’s definitely worth a shot.

Do you think Instagram should hide like counts in the spirit of reducing anxiety and social comparison? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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