Instagram will hide “like” counts in the US starting next week, a feature that the company has been testing for a while. As of now, it will roll out for a limited number of accounts. Following the change, the total number of likes and video views will not show for the public, though users who put out the post will still be able to see the entire list of people who have liked their post.
The logic behind the move, Instagram says, is more focus on what gets shared than how many likes a post gets. Vishal Shah, VP of Products at Instagram said at the ‘Instagram Experience’ (IGX) event in Mumbai last month that there is a very clear reason the company is doing this.
“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 explained.
Instagram has had like counts from 2010, but Shah feels removing them from the platform will bring a very meaningful change, even though it is actually a very small number of pixels that are being removed from the screen. “I’m very proud as an organization, as a product team that we are looking at these things and asking if they still make sense today,” Shah said.
Instagram Stories, which is quite popular with over 500 million users does not display the number of views to other users and Instagram wants to bring a similar approach to the feed as well. “We’re bringing a lot of that thinking to the core of the platform, to feed,” he added.
Instagram previously confirmed in July this year that it is testing hiding like counts for select users in Canada, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. The feature is expected to roll out more broadly in the coming weeks.