Instagram has continued to remove their like counters on the platform in countries such as Australia, Brazil and Japan, in a bid to “remove pressure” on users.
The trial began on Thursday, meaning that users will now see a user name along with a message “and others” below posts, rather than a number.
Instagram users will still be able to view the number of likes that their own posts get, but they will be unable to view the like count of others.
This comes after there were plenty of criticisms of the application and the rest of social media’s impact on mental health, with there being concerns that it may contribute to low self-esteem and feelings of imperfection in young people.
Instagram launched a similar trial earlier on in the year back in May, with Canada being the tested country. On Thursday, the feature was extended to six other countries, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Brazil.
In an interview with the BBC, Mia Garlick, the Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy stated that “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.”
Mia Garlick also added that such an initiative is aimed at making people “focus less on likes and more on telling their story.”
Instagram stated that this test will not be affecting measurement tools for businesses.
Apart from this, users will still be able to see the list of users that have liked other people’s content simply by clicking on it, just as was done before the test.
Instagram described the hiding of likes for users as a “test”, but up to this day it has still not given a deadline for when such testing would end.
The number of likes that a post gets has often been considered as a measure of success or popularity on several social media platforms, one of which being Instagram. Further studies also suggest that this type of instant feedback received from posts can either boost people’s self-esteem massively, or else bring it down if you do not get the amount of likes you desire.
This puts social media influencers in a strange place, as they are solely measured on the number of likes that their social media activity attracts.
One particular influencer, Jem Wolfie, who has 2.7 million Instagram followers, said that “They’re taking a tool away that’s really important for us.”
Another influencer, Zak Hasleby, who has over 90,000 followers, claimed that the changes will result in users not having “any backbone to show you have heaps of likes, and businesses won’t be able to see the likes.”
Whilst this possible change will hinder plenty of influencers and businesses, it will be aiding those that have often felt down as a result of a lack of social media engagement from other users.
An intriguing test for sure, and it is yet to be seen whether it will have more positive effects on the platform than negative ones.