Instagram is trialing hidden likes in select countries

As part of a trial to remove social pressure, Instagram has hidden likes on its platform to allow users to focus on the content, rather than expectations to follow a trend.

Instagram has been rated the most detrimental platform on young people’s mental health, according to a report by the RSPH (Royal Society for Public Health). Announced on Twitter, Instagram stated that currently the trial is running in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand.

Mia Garlick, director of policy for Facebook Australia and New Zealand said in a statement, “we want Instagram to be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves,”

“We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love.”

Measurement tools for businesses will not be affected during the trial, a spokesperson for Instagram clarified.

The test was launched in Canada with Adam Mosseri, chief of Instagram, saying, “we want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about.”

Why hide likes?

Likes are a form of social currency. And for influencers – actual currency. The pursuit of likes can stoke competitive and addictive behaviours which cause stress and other mental health problems. Users can end up fixating on how many people have hit the little red heart on their videos or photos. It can even have an effect on self-esteem: we’re humans and we like praise.

“We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about,” Mosseri said during F8 – Facebook’s yearly developer conference in San Jose, California.

This continues Instagram’s attempts at limiting cyber-bullying following the NSPCC stating in 2018 that YouTube and Facebook’s properties pose the highest online risk to kids.