Instagram is to offer it’s users the option to hide the number of likes they receive on posts and photos on the app.
The aim is to “depressurise people’s experience” on the platform, according to the social media giant. Users with the feature enabled will now see a username of a follower who has liked a post “and others” instead of a total number.
Feature has been tested in several countries around the world since 2019, but is now being rolled out globally. “This has taken longer than I had hoped but I am pretty excited about giving people more control over their experience,” instagram boss Adam Mosseri has said.
In its testing and research, Instagram has said that removing likes had little impact on peoples well-being, after concerns that using the platform could be linked to poor mental health. A recent study also found there was little association between the social media use and mental well-being in teenagers.
Despite this, Adam Mosseri said Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, introduced a feature to make people feel good about the time they spend on the platform. “I do think there is more to do in this space,” he added. “The more we can give people the ability to shape Instagram and Facebook into what is good for them the better.”
“The spirit of this is to give people a choice. Maybe you want to add a little bit less worry about how many likes everyone is getting for a couple of weeks or a couple of months, and then maybe you want to switch back. If it’s a one-way door people tend to get hesitant about using the control.” Said Mosseri.
Instagram is algorithm will still take the number of likes into account when promoting posts on the platform. It also takes into consideration other factors such as what the user follows or engages with. The Instagram boss also said that there had been a polarised reaction from creators, accounts which make money through the brand partnership and advertising on the platform, but that that the new feature didn’t affect revenues at all.