Instagram began testing the option to hide likes
posts in 2019,
first in Canada and later around the world. While followers couldn’t see the total number of likes a post received, the owner of the account still could, Instagram said at the time. Viewers of the post the could click to see a full list of the accounts who liked it, but they wouldn’t see a number totaling
The test was done “to understand if it lessens some pressure” for users when they post to the platform, said a spokesperson for Facebook (FB)
, which owns Instagram. Some people found the feature to be beneficial, but
others still wanted to see like counts so they could track what was popular
, the spokesperson said.
Likes, which appear as hearts on Instagram, have been a key metric to create engagement on the platform. But they have also caused some users to tie self-esteem to how many they rack up.
In March, Instagram briefly hid likes
from some of its users after the company accidentally expanded its long-running test of the feature. As a result of the accident, several Instagram users reported seeing the change on their profiles, with the number of likes replaced with the phrase
“[example username] and others” next to a heart.
The experiment with the new feature will take place only on Instagram initially, but the company is also exploring a similar experience for Facebook, the spokesperson said.