After testing and talking about it for months, Instagram is finally rolling out the ability to let users hide the number of likes on a post. And this applies to not just your own posts, but also to posts from other people that appear in your feed. And oh, the ability to hide likes is also making its way to Facebook as well.
“We want you to feel good about the time you spend on our apps and this is a way to give you more control over your experience,” Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said about the change. Mosseri has mentioned in the past that hiding the likes count will allow users to focus more on the actual content being shared on the platform, instead of how well it has been received in terms of the number of likes.
👀 An update on like counts. Starting today, you can manage your experience in a way that works for you.
You can choose to hide like counts on others’ posts and on your own posts so people can’t see how many likes you get.
Rolling out on Instagram and Facebook. pic.twitter.com/Vp8ljtvgMw
— Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) May 26, 2021
Instagram is adding a new ‘Posts’ tab in the Settings section where you can go and hide the likes count for posts shared by other people that appear in your feed. Wondering how can you do the same for your own posts? Here’s how to hide like counts on your posts on Instagram:
- Create an Instagram post, and just before you press the ‘Share’ button, tap on Advanced Settings at the bottom.
- Once there, flick the toggle that says ‘Hide Like and View Counts’
- Go back to the post screen and hit the Share button
- For older posts, tap on the three-dot menu icon that appears in the top-right corner and select ‘Hide Like Count’ option that appears in the pop-up window.
A double-edged sword
Instagram has often been targeted for its role in bolstering stress and anxiety among users, especially the younger audience, which often measures its social acceptance and popularity based on the number of likes and views on posts. After all, the core purpose of Instagram, in its own words, is to connect with people and share memories.
However, multiple surveys and tests have found that Instagram is the worst platform for mental health and wellness despite its immense popularity. In fact, this was one of the arguments used by a bipartisan coalition of 44 attorneys general that urged Facebook to shelve its ‘Instagram for Kids‘ project citing the safety and well-being of young users.
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has often talked about a similar healthy social media usage concept called ‘time well spent’ that focuses more on the positive interaction experience and quality of content you come across. Hiding the likes count will definitely help ease the pressure of being popular on social media for users, especially the young minds.
On the flip side, hiding the likes and view counts for posts will be counter-productive for influencers whose income stream depends on these metrics. Businesses often use these numbers to gauge the popularity of a social media personality and accordingly offer them sponsorship opportunities. But since ‘hidden likes’ are an optional feature, the impact will be negligible for those worried about hurting their business prospects.