Instagram Is Testing Hiding a Post's Like Count

Instagram Is Testing Hiding a Post's Like Count

New screenshots suggest Instagram is toying with the idea of hiding the number of likes a photo has received. If rolled out, the change would alter the entire dynamic of the platform, given that many influencers rely on their likes count for business purposes.

As per TechCrunch, reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong came across the potential new feature in Instagram’s Android code, screenshotting her findings. Adding weight to her findings, Wong has previously been behind the first look of several Instagram features before they’d been been officially announced.

One of the screenshots of the new feature sees Instagram describe the move:

We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only the person who shares a post will see the total number of likes it gets.

Instead, posts now read “Liked by X and others,” with no number specified. “Only you can see the total number of likes on your post,” it reads.

For now, Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch the feature is an internal prototype and not accessible to the public: We’re not testing this at the moment, but exploring ways to reduce pressure on Instagram is something we’re always thinking about.

The move would be game-changing among its users of all ages, holding the potential to remove the popularity contest aspect of the platform.

Lead image credit: Pixabay via Pexels.

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16 Comments

Jeff Walsh's picture

the vanity of people cant be stopped. If you can'n see likes, then comments will become the new thing. People will always find a way to measure their worth through the lens of strangers.

Rayann Elzein's picture

Absolutely. Besides, how are they going to generate more ads revenues (their whole business model) without showing the likes. Why they don't tackle first the ocean of fake profiles and bots on their platform is beyond me. That's the single most annoying thing that made me go from posting almost daily, to posting once or twice per week. Oh well... back to improving my website, that's where I get most of my business anyway :)

Michael Holst's picture

Advertisers don't care about likes. Likes are the least meaningful form of engagement and generally don't show much. Likes don't equal revenue and hardly push people down the marketing funnel. This change IMO, will help move instagram to a similar place as we see facebook where the point is to generate Impressions<Clicks<Landing Page Web Sessions<Conversions. Instagram is not used by advertisers in the same way as the average user. Removing likes hurts influencers more than anyone. I don't think this should be any surprise since Facebook has essentially forced businesses to pay to participate. Organic reach has been limited more and more so much that if you aren't paying for facebook ads and/or boosts you're not going to get much out of it.

Instagram is going to turn into the same type of thing that Facebook has become. It will limit the amount of weight influencers carry on social media. A good thing in my opinion.

Michael Holst's picture

True Though, it takes more engagement for someone to leave a comment than to like something. So it forces a more meaningful KPI to judge success. I doubt people will start commenting more just because the like they leave doesn't get displayed. The only person who would want the likes displayed are the ones who post the image.

David Love's picture

This is instagram (Facebook) getting tired of companies bypassing their ad prices and paying people that bought likes to look popular, for less. Maybe they should just remove fake likes so advertisers can see how many likes these influencers really have.

Michael Holst's picture

Facebook has already done a ton to curb this for FB business profiles. If a profile's organic posts are trying to promote engagement through the use of "Engagement Bait" they start to lower the reach of the page (less people see it). I imagine they are going to make Instagram work the same way.

Facebook as also made likes generally useless since they've made comments/shares/ and reactions the forms of engagement that promote post/page reach. This is why it sounds like those same changes that were on FB are making their way to IG.

David Love's picture

Another ghost town coming. If not for messenger app, FB would be Myspace by now. Never seen a company like to ruin themselves more than Zuckerberg's.

user-206807's picture

Navelgazingram…

Ale Vidal's picture

That would actually be nice. Sharing just for the purpose of that, without focusing on hashtags and less relevant factor. Despite this would crush the business of many people, I find this a good way for Instagram to get rid of (part of) bots, that I imagine are affecting servers.

Michael Holst's picture

This could be good for the serious photographer by creating a barrier to entry. Exposure is only going to come to those who care enough about the profession to reach their audience. Though, I'm optimistically reaching here

Brian Jones's picture

Hahaha. Ok, so leave the dope hanging in front of those addicted to the red heart, by allowing only them see how many Likes they received. I quit Insta bc it is a product of Zuck and I was tired of the me..me..me virus. This still applies with this 'change' bc the me...me...me are still going to seek out the social validation that they so crave.

Remove the Like all together if you want to promote a healthy platform. But they never will. This is data. This is what keeps the feedback loop spinning and the infinite scrolling. Remove the Like, and they fail. They know this.

But hey, just maybe my prediction of Social Validatio.. Media becoming an after thought in 5 years may happen much sooner than I tbought. Fingers crossed...

Jonathan Brady's picture

Doesn't go far enough. Remove Instagram.

Michael Holst's picture

We could even get rid of the internet!

I long ago gave up caring about like or follower counts. If I believed them my ability to take good photos has dropped by more than 75% in the past 18-24 months. What I do have is a great community of followers where real engagement takes place.

Pedro Pulido's picture

hidding likes and followers from public would be an awesome improvement that would possibly transform how people interact on instagram and make it a more real experience. i'm on top with this one. Even if i loose followers or likes, don't really care. Would rather only have those who really enjoy what i shoot.