Social media has come a long way – it has now evolved into a forum where people can meet virtually and discuss the burning issues of the day, explore common interests and ideas, or simply posting on various issues. A feature common to all social media platforms is the Like feature, which often determines the popularity of the post, and ultimately, the person. After conducting experiments on hiding the number of likes for nearly two years, Instagram is reported to begin a new global test for an option that allows users to hide the “like” counts on their posts.
While it is not enabling or disabling the feature, it will soon allow a small group of users to decide whether or not they want to see the number of Likes their posts and those of others received.
So if you are one of the users chosen to participate in the test, you will be able to hide Likes on your own posts or posts from people you follow. You will also be able to turn off the Like counts on your posts. Moreover, it goes without saying that you will also have the option to keep Likes appearing normally.
Instagram first toyed with the idea and started testing it in 2019, first in Canada and later around the world. It was primarily done because users, especially the younger ones, attached too much importance to the number of Likes and what others thought – in other words, the number of Likes became a parameter of popularity on social media, getting people anxious and embarrassed to the point they would take down posts if they do not receive enough Likes. It could also lead to negative psychological effects.
“Some people found this beneficial but some still wanted to see like counts so they could track what’s popular,” the company said in a statement. Social media influencers constituted most of the group that argued that Likes should persist since it is one of the metrics that determines how much they earn from their posts. Instagram is not favoring one side over the other – it is simply giving them the choice to hide Likes or to keep them.
Facebook has been testing such a feature for quite some time. “We’re testing this on Instagram to start, but we’re also exploring a similar experience for Facebook. We will learn from this new small test and have more to share soon,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
Last month, a bug made the Like counts on Instagram disappear from some of its users, but they were restored soon after.