Instagram regularly rolls out a number of experimental features that may or may not way make their way to the public. The company recently experimented with a feature that lets users recover deleted pictures and posts.
Now Instagram is starting to test another feature that will let users hide the number of likes on posts. The company started tinkering with the idea of hiding likes somewhere back in 2019. However, unlike last time, the Facebook-owned company is trying out something entirely new.
Users will now get to decide what works best for them. They can either continue looking at the number of likes on posts made by others or hide them if they wish to. They can also turn off the number of likes on their own posts as well. Facebook said that it might start testing the same feature on its own platform sometime later on in the future. Instagram said that it had to focus on other areas and support its community during the pandemic.
Last month, Instagram accidentally started hiding likes for some of its users, which it later claimed was due to a bug. The company now says that based on the feedback they have collected during the testing phase, they have a wide range of opinions on the new feature. The initial thought behind hiding the number of likes was that many users were feeling embarrassed and anxious when their posts did not get enough likes. The issue seemed persistent amongst its younger audience, where people would remove posts that did not get enough likes according to them.
Moreover, hiding the number of likes might reduce the crazy things people do in order to be more popular. Instagram also revealed that some users really disliked the new feature. According to users, hiding the number of likes did not allow them to see what’s trending on the platform. Instagram influencers were the ones who disliked the new feature most. This was mostly due to the fact that more likes allowed them to showcase their value to their brand partners and advertisers. They argue that lower engagement rates directly translate to reduced earnings.
The company has said that both options come with their own upsides and downsides, therefore, they are letting users decide what’s best for them. Initially, the option to hide likes will be available to only select users globally. In case you have opted in to test the new feature, you will see the option to hide likes in the settings menu. Enabling the option will hide the number of likes on posts made by others when you use Instagram.
If you are a creator, you can hide likes per post using the three dots at the top. Even if you decide to hide your likes, you will still be able to view the number of likes and other engagement statistics without any problem whatsoever.
Having said that, Instagram is still yet to say anything on how long the test will last and if the feature will actually be released to users worldwide. While giving users the option to hide the number of likes might seem like a good idea initially, if creators decide to use likes as the standard for how popular they are, people might follow their suit and come out against the idea.