After testing hiding 'like' counts for some time, both Instagram and Facebook will now offer the option to all users
When it comes to social media, it can be easy to fall into the comparison trap. The posts that we see may prompt us to reflect negatively on our own lives – causing us to question the things that we have, or induce anxiety about what we’re missing out on.
While social media also opens up a wealth of opportunities to us – staying in touch with loved ones, discovering empowering communities, and access to information and knowledge – many studies have also linked it to an increased risk of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.
But now, social media companies are taking note, as earlier this week it was announced that all users on Instagram and Facebook will have the option to hide their public ‘like’ counts.
“We tested hiding like counts to see if it might depressurize people’s experience on Instagram,” Instagram wrote, in a blog post announcing the update. “What we heard from people and experts was that not seeing like counts was beneficial for some, and annoying to others, particularly because people use like counts to get a sense for what’s trending or popular, so we’re giving you the choice.”
Before introducing the option, Instagram collaborated with experts and creators to assess whether the option would meet user’s needs, and offer the solutions that they were looking for. It is hoped that hiding the ‘likes’ will help to depressurize the experience of using Instagram and Facebook.
As well as hiding public likes on your own posts, you will also be able to hide them on the posts from other people that you see on your feed – the idea being that this will allow users to interact with content without getting caught up in how many ‘likes’ it gets.
How to hide ‘likes’ on Instagram
- Open the Instagram app
- Head to ‘settings’
- Tap ‘privacy’, then ‘posts’
- You should see an option to ‘Hide Like and View Counts’, switch this on to begin
The change is in motion on Instagram now and will be coming to Facebook soon. But Instagram is also announcing that they’re funding more external research into people’s experiences with the platform – looking into how they can better support users with policies and products.
“Changing the way people view like counts is a big shift,” Instagram said. “We’ll continue working on new ways to give people more choice, so they feel good about the time they spend on our apps.”
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