Instagram will begin hiding the “likes” counter that appears underneath a posted photo or video on some customer accounts beginning next week. During Wired 25, a symposium featuring conversations with leaders from science, technology and entertainment, Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced the change and provided details on the project. He said the purpose of the change was to “depressurize” Instagram and see how the change impacts the feelings of users.
Instagram has been testing out the change around the world for months. So far, it has been rolled out to seven countries: Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. In the U.S., the change will roll out in stages, with only some users seeing the change right away. Mosseri did not provide specifics on which users or how long Instagram’s test would last.
For those whose U.S. accounts are affected by the change, they will still see the number of likes on their own posts, but not other people. Instagram said in its statement, “We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get. You can still see your own likes by tapping on the list of people who’ve liked it, but your friends will not be able to see how many likes your post has received.”
Social media companies have been under a great deal of pressure to take a more pro-active approach to monitoring content on their platforms. Now, some of the platforms are attempting to reduce the importance they place on public metrics.
Along with Instagram, Facebook (Instagram’s parent company), YouTube and Twitter have also tested removing the public engagement metrics from their platforms. Critics complain that this will impact marketing strategy for businesses using the platforms to attract advertisers and customers.