In March this year, some Instagram users started noticing that the like count on their posts was abruptly gone. Well, it was not due to a glitch, but actually part of a new test. Instagram chief Adam Mosseri later admitted that keeping the number of likes private from others is a polarizing idea, but the company was looking to implement it in some other way. Today, Mosseri revealed that the company is resuming the test, but with a slightly different approach.
The Instagram chief mentioned in a tweet that for a handful of users in the test circle, the company is allowing them to choose whether or not they choose to see the number of likes on someone else’s posts. In addition to it, users will be able to choose if they want to hide the like counts on their own posts. However, users in the test circle will have the option to keep their Instagram UI untouched, just as they are used to without any complexities around the likes counts.
We’re testing this on Instagram to start and we’re exploring a similar experience for Facebook too.
More to share about this soon.
— Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) April 14, 2021
But Instagram is not the only platform that is experimenting with hidden likes. Parent company Facebook is also running a similar test on its eponymous social media platform that recently saw the data of over half a billion users leaked online. However, neither Instagram nor Facebook, have given any indication whether hidden likes will become a permanent feature anytime soon. Instagram recently made it clear that the feature will be made available to users who think it is useful.
In my opinion, the feature should actually be rolled out widely. Public like counts often add more pressure, especially on the young user base, who might otherwise reel under the stress of not being popular enough. Mosseri said back in 2019 that the company wants users to ‘worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram, and spend a bit more time connecting with the people they care about.’