Instagram is quietly testing a feature that would hide “likes” from public view. TechCrunch reports that the feature, first discovered by researcher Jane Manchun Wong, still allows the poster to see how many likes a post receives, and by whom. But to the average viewer all that appears in the bottom left corner under a picture or video is “Liked by [name] and others.”
“We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get,” reads a statement about the feature. “During this test, only the person who shares a post will see the total number of likes it gets.”
Instagram is testing hiding like count from audiences,
as stated in the app: “We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get” pic.twitter.com/MN7woHowVN
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) April 18, 2019
As Jezebel points out, the group this is most likely going to effect is influencers. Those who monetize their social media accounts rely on “likes” to prove their following to potential sponsorship partners, and to gauge their reach as advertisers. While people will still be able to access their “like” counts, not having them proudly on display could potentially make it harder to appeal to brands looking to advertise with an influencer.
Instagram confirmed the test to TechCrunch, but said that it is only an internal prototype. It seems the social media giant is looking for ways to decrease its effect on mental health. “We’re not testing this at the moment,” a spokesperson told the publication. “But exploring ways to reduce pressure on Instagram is something we’re always thinking about.”