When Instagram’s Adam Mosseri announced in 2019 that the site will test hiding like counts, everyone assumed social media would change forever. But due to the pandemic, the test never happened.
However, on Wednesday the company announced that the like count hiding feature experiment is happening this time and the outcome will tell us whether it should be made permanent or not. This experiment sounds a lot like a recent one done by YouTube where they decided to hide the number of ‘dislikes’ a creator gets on his/her videos.
What does the Like Count Hide feature do?
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Instagram said that its tests revealed that some users found hidden like counts to be useful, while others, predictably, did not.
This time though Instagram has decided to let the audience decide what they want to do. The feature will allow the users to not only hide the number of like counts of their own posts but of other creators as well. Facebook has also announced that it will begin testing a similar experience on its own platform.
The company is going for a limited amount of users for the experiment worldwide so if you are one of them, you will be able to hide the Likes by changing the settings directly in the app.
This feature will disable you from seeing other people’s Like count as you browse through your feed however, the creators will still be able to see them via analytics along with other engagements like before. You will be able to see your engagements as well just not publicly.
What’s the reason behind hiding like a counting experiment?
Critics of social media have long argued that the demand for likes and shares may be detrimental to one’s mental health, especially among young people who can become anxious or depressed if their posts do not receive many likes — to the point that they would delete posts that didn’t receive “enough” Likes.
Back in 2019, however, not everyone accepted that the removal of Likes was a positive improvement. Some users expressed a desire to see Like counts in order to keep track of what was trending and common. The case for retaining Likes was stronger in the influencer community, where producers used the metric to convey their worth to partners such as brands and advertisers. In this case, lower post-interaction rates could result in lower earnings for these developers.
As a result, Instagram’s new experiment will return control to users. The duration of the experiment is yet to be known along with Facebook’s experiment details.
Stay tuned with Stanford Arts Review for all the latest updates.