Instagram hides number of ‘likes’ for Australian users

Instagram today announced they are testing a new feature that will hide the number of "likes" on Australian Instagram accounts in an attempt to “remove pressure” on users.

Instagram is removing the total number of likes from photos and videos that show up on the main feed, profiles and permalink pages for all Australian accounts. Users will be able to see a list of likes on their own posts; however they will no longer see the figure on another’s images or videos.

Measurement tools for businesses and creators on Instagram are still available and will not be affected.

Users who have business accounts (influencers) can still access their ‘insights’ page to see how many likes they receive.

However influencers that rely on likes and engagement to build their following and earn an income are expressing concern about feed rankings in the algorithm.

With no plans to hide the follower count on a profile, businesses looking to collaborate with influencers must place an increased importance on researching their follower base (identifying influencers with fake followings) and the level of interaction (user engagement driven by comments and likes) when choosing an influencer to collaborate with.

Instagram says the reason for the trial is to enable users to concentrate on their posts and interacting with the app rather than likes.

They are hoping to improve the culture surrounding social media and the unhealthy obsession with “likes” and comparison to others online, particularly prevalent in young people aged 14-24.

The platform has been trialling the test in Canada for a number of months, with Australia being the second country to trial the significant social media change.

Facebook Australia and New Zealand Director of Policy Mia Garlick said Australia was chosen for the trial because it has a fast-growing, highly engaged community.

If the trial is successful on Instagram there is nothing to say the change won’t spread to other platforms like Facebook with the goal of creating a healthier social media environment for users.