Instagram will test hiding public like counts in Canada


Instagram announced at its F8 developer conference today that it’ll start testing a new feature later this week that’ll hide users’ public like counts on videos and photos. The test will only be in Canada, and likes will be hidden in the Feed, permalinked pages, and on profiles. Instagram says it wants followers to “focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.” Only the person who owns the account will be able to see how many likes their content received.

We thought a feature like this might be in the works. Code hunter Jane Wong published screenshots of this test earlier this month, and at the time, Instagram said it hadn’t tested the feature. Now, we can see it was prepping for the test to run after F8. A spokesperson at the time said, “We’re not testing this at the moment, but exploring ways to reduce pressure on Instagram is something we’re always thinking about.”

It’s unclear if the company will roll the test out more broadly, but I would love to test this. Although likes can be mood-boosting and encouraging to users, they can also bring them down, especially if content doesn’t perform well. At the same time, likes can incentivize less interesting content and facilitate like-garnering posts, like nudity, food porn, and classic Instagram-bait scenes. Getting rid of likes could fundamentally change the platform.


Yay, we’re finally being used as a test platform for something!

You were a test platform for Celine Dion and Justin Bieber.

I really hope this becomes the standard. It should be all about the images, untinted by popularity stats.

This isn’t going to go over well. But you know what will?

Timeline in chronological order. Not this half-half thing. Strictly chronological order please.

Probably not a bad thing, I find the like count to be mostly a distraction.

This can be good, there really are people who surprisingly get very depressed if they don’t get likes. Kinda like they did something interesting but then no one acknowledged it.

This won’t hide the like count from the original poster… Just from other users.

Ah I see i misread, I guess so people actually try to interact maybe? Some people won’t like a picture unless other people have, and some don’t like it if 1000s have already liked it.

It probably wasn’t interesting.

Or Instagram’s algorithm sucks and hides everything, but rather than fix that…

Vain people across the world are TREMBLING!

Shouldn’t make me mad but it kind of does… people’s profiles that are 90% selfies that get 100+ likes each post.

But isn’t it ALL for the like count?!

It will be interesting to see the reactions. Nice move.

I like it.

YouTube comments next please! I hope this test does well and triggers similar changes across all social networks.

How about we ban all comments?

The heck? Hell no, some videos on youtube are only popular because of the hilarious comments.
Anyone with disabled comments on their videos, I rarely watch.

I want to watch and then express my opinion or see the opinion of others.

I didn’t say disable comments, just hide the counter. You can still present comments according to the tracking, without showing some boastful number letting you know just how many people approve of something. I don’t think that would really get rid of anything you’re talking about.

Smart. You know, with a feature as complex and critical as "public like counts" you’ll want to make sure to test the heck out of it, right? Wouldn’t want to bring down any "influencers" which could disrupt the entire economy!

Silicon Valley innovation, huh?

First of all. I clicked an ad 3 times accidentally because the verge site is loading like garbage. Tried to hit load comments but an ad popped under as the page generated.

Second. Is this really a test? Everyone in Canada is friendly and likes everything. So it’s already assumed they are going to like it.

Yea this will do nothing, the original posters will still know they’re getting no engagement.

Instead they should just give us chronological order

Is this because ordinary people feel like losers when their poorly composed pictures get no likes apart from Aunt Beth, that stalker from overseas, and a company selling bikinis?

I wonder how this will affect sponsored content. Will companies still want to pay people to promote their products and services?

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