Instagram has considered hiding the like count on photos, so audiences can’t see how many people have liked an individual post. Hunter Jane Wong, who says the test states that Instagram wants “your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get.”
Describing the objective behind this design tweak, Instagram says, “We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only the person who share a post will see the total number of likes it gets.”
Social networks have focused heavily on the idea of “digital wellbeing” lately. Instagram itself. For instance, last year launched a new “You’re All Caught Up” feature to help prevent so-called mindless scrolling due to its algorithm. Facebook, meanwhile, added a “Your Time on Facebook” feature to help users track how munch time they spend in the app. Instagram doesn’t appear to be actively testing this hidden likes feature right now, so it’s hard to know when or if it might roll out to everyone. Nonetheless, it’s clearly something the social network has considered and theoretically could go live at anytime.
Details of the test come just days after the Independent indicated that the British Information Commissioner’s Office has recommended that social platforms, like Instagram and Snapchat, offer the option to turn off features like likes and “streaks” that encourage users to keep posting.
It also can incentivize the posting of less authentic content, however, like gorgeous landscapes, nudity, or thirst trap photos that might garner likes, but aren’t the most interesting or thoughtful.