The Test Phase Is Over, And The New Feature Has Been Launched
Yesterday, Instagram announced that its new controversial feature – the ability to hide like counts on posts – has now launched within the app. Whether users like it or not, this feature is also set to appear on Facebook soon.
The social media giants have been testing out this new feature for some time now. The image below details how the process will look on Instagram.
[Image Creds: Instagram]
Instagram commented on the controversial new feature: “You may have noticed that we’ve been testing hiding like counts on Instagram for a while. Today, we’re announcing that everyone on Instagram and Facebook will now have the option to hide their public like counts, so they can decide what works for them.”
The below image details the process on Facebook:
[Image Creds: Sarah Perez, Twitter]
The launch of this feature shouldn’t come as a surprise; Instagram began testing it with some users back in 2019, and expanded in selected regions as time progressed. The reason why it wasn’t released sooner was due to Covid-19.
So, in terms of likes, Instagram is now granting users complete control of what they want others to see. The platform is giving its users options, choices and privacy.
“We tested hiding like counts to see if it might depressurize people’s experience on Instagram. What we heard from people and experts was that not seeing like counts was beneficial for some and annoying to others, particularly because people use like counts to get a sense for what’s trending or popular, so we’re giving you the choice.”
‘Depressurising‘ is a term Instagram has repeatedly used in describing this trial. The company wants to create a platform that will allow users to feel less pressure about their content choices and, ultimately, what they post. Instagram believes that taking away the like counts will create less anxiety and competitiveness that often surrounds the app.
Moreover, Social media giants have recognised that incentivising engagement has created significant harm for their users, which often get get obsessed with gaining likes and followers. Social media sites were created for the purpose of social connection, not to increase the pressures and anxieties of perceived popularity.
[Image Creds: Instagram]
Instagram wants to follow in the footsteps of Snapchat: a platform that improved engagement through hiding follower counts and likes.
That being said, when testing the new feature, Instagram indicated that the overall engagement rates lowered.
Instagram explained further: “You’ll have the option to hide like counts on all posts in your feed. You’ll also have the option to hide like counts on your own posts, so others can’t see how many likes your posts get. This way, if you like, you can focus on the photos and videos being shared, instead of how many likes posts get.”
Alas, the choice is now in your hands. Will you be displaying your like counts, or will you choose to hide them? Will you want the gratification of a post doing well, or do you believe that by taking away like counts you’ll focus more on the creative aspect of the content you upload?
Finally, for our previous #SocialShort, click here.