Instagram to Revive Its Test for Like Counts but Now It Will Give Users an Option to Choose

Instagram in 2019 started a test in which they experimented on a group of users by hiding the like count on their posts as well as all the post on their news feed. This means that those who were a part of this test could not see the number of likes on their posts or the likes of people they followed.

The basic purpose of this test of hiding like counts was about reducing the anxiety and embarrassment surrounding posts that received less likes according to the users. People would stress over whether their posts will get enough like and if it did not receive enough likes according to them some will delete their posts as well. Also the young generation will feel invalidated or sad over the fact that their peers are getting more likes and they are not and Instagram realized that this peer pressure and race for likes was unhealthy and decided to run this experiment. The second reason for the tech giant to run this feature test was so that people could decide to like a post based on the fact if they liked a content and not on how much likes it had already gotten and on its popularity.

However, this test was disabled when the pandemic had hit because Instagram realized they had other more important things to focus on for their community during such crucial times like stopping the spread of fake information regarding the virus and linking people up with the true information.

But now Instagram is back on track with this experiment. The company revisited the data it had collected from the first round of this testing and saw mixed results on peoples’ opinion on this new feature. While some people appreciated this new feature and thought that it is a great initiative there was a group of audience that was not happy with this feature. The argument for keeping Likes was more prevalent among the influencer community, where creators used the metric in order to communicate their value to partners, like brands and advertisers and lower engagement rates on posts could directly translate to lower earnings for these creators.

Hence Instagram came up with a new strategy for this testing. Instead of increasing the users in testing this time the tech giant is giving a bunch of users in this testing an option to disable the number of like counts on the posts on their feed or their posts or simply leave it the way it has always been.

In case you are among the people chosen to be tested for this feature, you will find a new option to hide the Likes from within the app’s Settings which will prevent you from seeing like counts on the posts that appear on your News Feed. However, if you are an influencer or a content creator on the application you will be able to hide Likes on a per-post basis via the three-dot “…” menu at the top. Even if Likes are disabled publicly, creators are still able to view Like counts and other engagements through analytics, just as they did before.

A similar test will be run on Facebook in the coming weeks.

As to whether this new feature under testing will be beneficial for the community remains a question because social media has always been a place where people feel validated by the likes they get and as much as we know this is wrong it is going to be a long run before people actually start to adopt a like free social media world.

But we are hopeful that this new initiative by Facebook and Instagram works out positively because it is about time people realize that their worth is more than the number of likes on their Instagram or Facebook pictures.

Read next: Instagram is now working on the ability to search area wise hashtags and the possibility of muting some words in DM by adding a new filter option in the message section
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