Instagram’s has announced that it will start hiding likes on posts globally, including in India as well. It had started by hiding likes in Canada in May this year, but the company is now expanding this experiment globally. Instagram had announced the hiding of likes in the US market last week.
Instagram is calling this the ‘Private Like Counts’ tests, where others will not be able to see how many likes your post has received, nor will you be able to see the likes on others’ posts. The new experiment is coming to India as well, but only a small percentage of the user base will see their likes being hidden, said the company in a statement. Other countries where Instagram had already expanded this experiment in July this year are Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brazil, Ireland and Italy.
Users will be able to see their likes by tapping on the liker list, but the number will be publicly hidden. According to Instagram, the objective is to make the platform “a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves,” and letting the focus be on videos and photos, rather than just posting content for likes.
“Starting today, we’re expanding our test of private like counts to the rest of the world beyond Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, and New Zealand. If you’re in the test, you’ll no longer see the total number of likes and views on photos and videos posted to Feed unless they’re your own. While the feedback from early testing has been positive, this is a fundamental change to Instagram, and so we’re continuing our test to learn more from our global community,” Vishal Shah, VP of Product, Instagram said.
Shah had explained to the indianexpress.com at their‘Instagram Experience’ (IGX) event in Mumbai last months that the decision to hide likes is to put the focus on what gets shared. “In research we hear time and time again that people feel a lot of pressure on posting to Instagram, competing with themselves, competing with their friends, competing with the biggest celebrities in the world. And we don’t want people to feel like it’s a contest. Instagram should be about expression,” he had explained.
For Instagram, a platform which has become synonymous with influencers and brands, the decision to hide likes from the public view could also hold impact on their businesses and digital marketing. Instagram has indicated to TechCrunch that it is working on ways to help influencers explain their value to partners, given their likes will be hidden from public view.