Have you noticed something missing from your life today?
No, I don’t think it’s your wallet or your keys but yes it is on your phone.
Open up your Instagram app and take a look at your friend’s latest posts, ahhh yes, you can’t see how many likes anymore. Bingo. They have been hidden.
In a move by Instagram in only Canada and Australia, Instagram users in those countries will, from today, not be able to see how many likes other posts receive.
They started testing the feature in Canada back in May and today rolled it out in Australia, with other countries next, lookout Kiwis.
The test removes the total number of likes on photos and video views in the feed, permalink pages, and profiles, in an effort to make Instagram not “feel like a competition”.
“We want Instagram to be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves,” said Mia Garlick, ANZ director of policy at Facebook, which owns Instagram.
“We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love.
“We are now rolling the test out to Australia so we can learn more about how this can benefit people’s experiences on Instagram, and whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story.”
The change won’t affect measurement tools for businesses and creators on Instagram and all likes and engagement metrics will still be available in those tools. But it will have an effect on some Influencer egos who will now not be able to boast how many people like their posts.
Mia Garlick said hiding likes, and last week’s announcement of further anti-bullying features on the platform are all designed to improve the wellbeing of users.
“[Those tools] have all been rolled out to help people have a sense of control.”
David Francis was the test pilot of an Instagram project Gay Nation conducted in 2015 to reach 10,000 followers in six months.
After hearing about the latest Instagram changes, Francis, who now has more than 60,000 followers on his Instagram said he is not sure whether the changes have much to do or will do anything about online bullying.
“Despite the number of Instagram users and profiles growing, it’s evident the frequency of posting is down since the algorithm changes a couple of years ago, particularly by some of the bigger names and influencers as overall engagement dropped dramatically,” said Francis.
“My best guess is that this is a way to try and increase the frequency of posting by keeping the engagement levels hidden.”
The test will also be expanded to other countries this month such as Italy and New Zealand.
We’re currently running a test that hides the total number of likes and video views for some people in the following countries:
✅ New Zealand pic.twitter.com/2OdzpIUBka
— Instagram (@instagram) July 17, 2019
The most-liked Instagram post is currently a picture of an egg, with more than 53m likes, which launched a world-record attempting campaign to dethrone Kylie Jenner’s record of 18m.