Tech

Instagram has started hiding likes in the UK – here’s how this controversial feature works

Can’t see any likes on your Instagram feed this morning? Well, you’re not alone.

The social media giant begun testing hiding like counts for some users in Canada earlier this year. Instagram has since trialled the initiative in Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.

Most recently, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri confirmed Instagram would soon start testing hiding likes in the US. However, so far there’s been no mention of a test in the UK.

That changes today though. Express.co.uk can confirm we have been bundled into a UK test where like counts are no longer visible.

So how exactly does hiding like counts work? Well, you’ll notice the change the moment you load up your main feed. Instead of posts sporting an exact number of likes, you’ll see that another account you follow has liked it and “others”.

That means each post will read something like this at the bottom: “Liked by (known account) and others”.

Pressing the highlighted “others” button will present you with a list of everyone that’s liked the post in question. However, no exact number of likes will be presented.

Instead, a message at the top of the like list reads: “Only (account) can see the total number of people who liked this post.”

Of course, you can scroll through the list of likes to calculate the number for yourself, but who on earth has the time for that?

Users are able to see the amount of likes on their own posts. Pressing the “others” button on your own content will display the total number of likes it has received.

Once again, a message is displayed informing you that you’re the only one able to see the number in question. The prompt reads: “Only you can see the total number of people who liked this post.”

Instagram is only testing the feature with a limited amount of users in the UK. Not all of our accounts at Express.co.uk are hiding likes.

Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri has said the test is designed to “depressurise” the social network. Essentially, the feature is designed to remove the pressure of obtaining likes on each individual post.

Speaking at the WIRED25 conference earlier this month, Mosseri said: “It’s about young people. The idea is to try and depressurise Instagram, make it less of a competition and give people more space to focus on connecting with people that they love, things that inspire them and it’s really focused around young people.

“We get to see how it makes people feel about the platform, how they use the platform and how it affects the creator ecosystem but I’ve been spending a lot of time on this personally.”

It’s not confirmed whether Instagram will ditch like counts for good or not. But we’d imagine the reception it receives during testing will play a huge role in whether it sticks.


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