A while back, it was revealed that Instagram was testing a new function — or rather, the lack of one: being able to hide likes. As some people are aware, "likes" has long been the currency of the digital age, especially when it comes to virtual interactions.
Which is why it's worth to ask: Would people feel better if they didn't see like counts at all? Instagram isn't quite ready to rock the boat just yet, but clearly, it's really considering it.
A few months back, the Facebook-owned company began testing a design tweak that hid the number of likes other users' posts had received. A user could still see the number of people that likes their photos, to be sure — just not anyone else's.
Instagram Expands Like Count Tests
Instagram hasn't said whether or not these tests are going well, but it's strongly suggested that they are going smoothly, as the company is now expanding them to other countries. Initially rolled out only in Canada, the like count experiment is rolling out to six more countries, including Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand.
Oddly, as TechCrunch reports, some users in Canada have reported seeing back like counts on their feeds. Instagram assures, however, that tests there are ongoing.
Why Hide Likes?
The biggest question here, of course, is why there's a need to hide like counts? Well, according to Instagram, it's because the company "wants your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get."
Essentially, Instagram argues that when like counts are made public, people care too much about gaining traction than the actual content itself. Indeed, the rise of social media has spawned a handful of odd phenomena, one of which is "going viral," and collectively, they've built this unspoken pressure of being liked — literally. As such, users view it as a metric of success, which is why those who get too few likes receive less attention and clamor. In some cases, users delete posts that don't get as many likes as their other posts so as to make it seem everything in their feed are "hits."
Of course, the ability to hide likes probably wouldn't solve the underlying issues of social media interaction, but it's a start, and it's good that Instagram hasn't dropped it from its list of experiments yet.
What do you think? Should Instagram allow people to hide like counts? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!