Instagram is putting the power to control likes back into some users' hands. Almost two years after the tech giant first began floating the idea of hiding "likes," Instagram is testing removing like counts once again. This time, though, the company it leaving it up to individuals to decide exactly what they want to see. Here's what to know about the beta feature, which began rolling out to select users on April 14.
Instagram head Adam Mosseri shared the news in a series of tweets and Instagram Stories on April 14, revealing that the decision to allow users to customize whether or not they saw likes on posts was in response to feedback to a 2019 test, which tested hiding like counts for select users around the world. While some people said that not seeing likes took off some of the pressure from posting, others argued that it was valuable seeing what content was popular and trending. For people who made money off the platform, like influencers, some argued that not being able to see like counts could lower earnings.
As of April 14, select users around the world in the test group will be able to make their own decisions for toggling likes on and off. "We’re testing a new option that lets you decide which experience is best for you," a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Elite Daily.
The three options include: sticking with Instagram's original experience with likes showing on your posts and other users' posts, toggling off like counts for your own posts on a per-post basis, or turning off like counts for everyone's posts you see. Even if like counts are disabled publicly, creators with creator or business profiles are still able to view how many likes their posts got as well as other engagements through analytics.
If you're a part of the test, you'll get a notification letting you know you can hide like counts (or not), depending on your preference. To activate the feature if you have it, you'll want to go to your Instagram app's Settings, tap the Privacy icon, then tap Posts to see the option. There, you can control whether or not you want to see like counts on other people's posts that you're viewing.
For your own Instagram content, you can hide the number of likes on your own posts on a post-per-post basis by tapping the three dots "..." icon at the top right of your post and then selecting the option.
Facebook is also planning on debuting a "similar experience" for users sometime in the coming weeks, but Mosseri didn't share in his posts whether the feature would be identical to the one that Instagram is currently testing.