Instagram is testing a new feature that allows users to choose whether they want to hide likes or not.
This is the latest in a series of tests by Instagram designed to alleviate social pressure around “like counts.”
Ready to find out more about hiding likes on Instagram? We’re covering the all-important details in this blog post:
Why is Instagram Giving Users the Option to Hide Likes?
Instagram has experimented with hiding likes in several countries over the last few years.
In fact, in 2019, Instagram trialled the removal of likes entirely for select users in the US, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand.
According to Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram, this was an initiative to make Instagram “a safer place on the internet.”
However, not everyone was in favor of hidden like counts. “Some still wanted to see like counts, in particular to track what’s popular,” Mosseri shared on Twitter.
In particular, creators and influencers said that the like count metric was important for communicating value to brand partners, and that their removal could have a negative impact on an influencer’s average engagement rate.
As a result, Instagram has announced it is testing a new option to let users choose whether to hide likes on the platform or not.
So we’re testing a new option that lets you decide the experience that’s best for you – whether that’s choosing not to see like counts on anyone else’s posts, turning them off for your own posts, or keeping the original experience.
— Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) April 14, 2021
As part of the test, users will be able to hide likes on other user’s posts, disable likes on their own posts, or keep the original experience.
By adding this level of flexibility, Instagram hopes to give users the option to “lessen pressure” when posting to the platform.
Mosseri also shared that a “similar experience for Facebook” is being explored.
Did you know: You can plan, preview, and auto-publish your Instagram posts with Later for free!
How Do Hidden Likes on Instagram Work?
It’s important to note that even when a user opts to hide likes on their account, likes do not disappear altogether.
The total like count is hidden to followers, but users will still be able to view who has liked a post in a couple taps.
Here’s what the new “private likes” design looks like when you’re scrolling Instagram:
“As you scroll through your feed, there are no like counts,” explained Mark Zuckerberg at F8.
“You can see who liked a photo or video. You can tap through to see [the full list of people who liked a post], and if you have the time you can add them all up yourself.”
Can You Still See How Many Likes You Get on Your Own Instagram Posts?
Yes, you can still see how many likes you’re getting on posts, even if your followers can’t.
However, the like count won’t automatically appear under your post.
Instead, you will have to tap “others” under your blog post to go through to the total number of likes:
How to Hide Likes on Instagram
If you’ve been selected for the test, you’ll be able to hide likes (or bring them back) by adjusting your app Settings.
If you choose to hide likes, you will no longer be able to see likes on other user’s posts as you scroll through the Instagram Home Feed.
Users will also be able hide likes on a post-by-post basis by tapping the three dot icon in the top right-hand corner of a published post.
NOTE: Users will still be able to view like counts and other engagements through analytics, even if they have disabled them from view.
How Do You Get into the Test Group?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to opt-in or opt-out of an Instagram test group.
Instagram hasn’t commented on exactly how big this test will be, but it will likely be available to users in the US, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand who have already experienced the removal of likes from their account.
How Does the Removal of Likes on Instagram Impact Influencers and Brands?
The big question: how does the removal of likes affect influencers and businesses?
After the blanket removal of likes for test users in several countries, many influencers claimed their engagement rates dropped significantly — a key metric that brands use to measure the success of an influencer marketing campaign.
The reason? Followers are less incentivized to hit the like button without a like count on display.
For businesses, the removal of likes also creates challenges when it comes to validating an influencer partner’s metrics.
Fortunately, there are tools to verify an influencer’s metrics. For example, Later’s Performance Report feature creates an automated report that updates every 24 hours with the latest metrics.
With this latest test by Instagram, users will be able to decide whether to display or hide like counts on an account-by-account basis.
If a huge number of users decide to hide likes, engagement rates will likely be impacted across the board — which is something brands and creators should be mindful of.
However, this opt-in approach is the only way Instagram can strike a balance with their community, especially given the social pressure and anxiety that can be prompted by Instagram likes.
Will you be hiding likes on your account? Let us know over on Later’s Instagram account.
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