Months after Instagram first tested out removing "likes" from its platform in several different countries, the tech giant could now be bringing the game-changing update to the States. According to the company's CEO Instagram will start hiding like counts after all for users who live in the United States, and the change will be rolled out in the coming days. Here's what to expect when the update goes live as early as next week.
While it's no secret that Instagram has been testing the theory that the 'Gram would be a better place for users if we weren't aware of how many likes other people were getting, the tech giant surprised customers when they revealed that they'd be bringing the change-up to the States during a Wired event in San Francisco on Friday, Nov. 8. Starting as early as next week, users who live stateside will only see "Liked by [person's name] and others" in place of a like count, Instagram's CEO Adam Mosseri confirmed during the event. However, you will still be able to see how many likes your own photos receive.
This update comes after Instagram began testing out removing the like counts of users in Australia, Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Japan, and New Zealand in late July. Previously, they ran a version of the change in Canada back in May.
At the time, a Facebook rep told Elite Daily that they had decided to implement the feature to make Instagram less of a "competition." In a statement, they said:
Last week, we began running a test in Australia, Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Japan, and New Zealand that removes the total number of likes on photos and video views in Feed, Permalink pages, and Profile. We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.
At the time, the rep also confirmed that they were planning to bring the update to other markets, saying, "This test began in Canada in May, and we’re excited to expand the test to a number of markets across the globe. We don’t want Instagram to feel like a competition – we hope to learn whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story."
A number of celebrities and public figures have spoken out in support of the update, with Kim Kardashian saying she thought it would be "beneficial" from a mental health standpoint while speaking The New York Times’ DealBrook Conference in New York City.
Calling herself "extremely mentally strong" when it comes to dealing with social media reactions, she said, "I struggle with having to step outside of how I feel and thinking about, ‘What if one of my children was like one of my friends who wasn’t as mentally strong and would really be affected by the comments? That would really affect me."
She added, "I know the Instagram team has been having a bunch of conversations with people to get everyone’s take on that and they’re taking it really seriously, and that makes me happy."
The change comes as Instagram's parent company Facebook revealed that they were also testing out hiding reaction and video view counts from the Facebook app in September. Confirming that they'd begin rolling out the feature in Australia, a Facebook spokesperson said, "We are running a limited test where like, reaction, and video view counts are made private across Facebook. We will gather feedback to understand whether this change will improve people’s experiences."
Instagram's latest announcement shows that for better or for worse, users can expect the social media platform to start looking pretty different sooner rather than later.