Instagram on Wednesday said it is dabbling with letting users hide “like” counts in an effort to ease the pressure of seeking approval from others. If an experiment at Instagram shows the option is a hit, it could be made permanent and even extended to Facebook, which owns the image-centric social network.
“In 2019, we started hiding like counts for a small group of people to understand if it lessens some pressure when posting to Instagram,” a Facebook spokesperson told AFP. “Some people found this beneficial but some still wanted to see like counts so they could track what’s popular. “Running tallies of how many people signal they like posts at social networks can be seen as status symbols or indicators of worth, raising mental health concerns.
Some experts say the insatiable quest for “likes” can be addictive and have devastating effects, particularly for younger people. Instagram is letting a small number of users around the world decide whether to show “like” counts on their posts or see them on content shared by other people.
“We’re testing this on Instagram to start, but we’re also exploring a similar experience for Facebook,” the spokesperson said. Facebook said that it has been working with experts to understand how design tweaks such as the one being tested at Instagram can support the well-being of users while providing control over how they engage with the service.