Instagram has hidden likes in seven countries – Read more to find out why and learn which countries are currently impacted.
Instagram announced in July 2019 that they were undertaking a test to hide the number of likes and video views for users in some countries.
The popular social app owned by Facebook explained that the change is intended to enhance the experience for its users by reducing social pressure around the number of likes and views. By removing the stigma of unloved content Instagram hopes to better protect their user’s mental wellbeing.
Only users in seven countries are currently impacted by this change but many fear the changes could soon be rolled out to all users of the App. If that was to happen it’s possible that Instagram’s owners Facebook could adopt a similar approach in their own platform which could drastically change the feel of social media.
We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get. You can still see your own likes by tapping on the list of people who've liked it, but your friends will not be able to see how many likes your post has received.— Instagram (@instagram) 17 July 2019
These changes could make good commercial sense for Instagram as removing the pressure for ever more likes and views could attract new users onto the platform who have previously been put off.
This is a big change for some Instagram users, not least the so called “influencers” who often earn an income promoting products and services within their Instagram content. With likes and views now invisible to other users many were quick to criticise Instagram for the changes with some feeling their livelihood could be lost.
Reviewing Instagram’s Twitter feed it seems that many of their existing users are not keen on the changes at all. Many have expressed their annoyance that Instagram are essentially removing a key feature of the App that they most enjoy and value.
Whilst likes and views are hidden to other users it is worth noting that you can still view your own likes and views as well as like other users content.
Some people have praised the changes as long overdue and encouraged Instagram to go even further in protecting their user’s mental wellbeing.
Which Countries Are Impacted?
Only users in the following seven counties are currently impacted – Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan & New Zealand.
It is also worth noting that Instagram have described the changes as a “test” which could indicate they are not permanent.
We’re currently running a test that hides the total number of likes and video views for some people in the following countries:— Instagram (@instagram) 17 July 2019
✅ New Zealand pic.twitter.com/2OdzpIUBka
Instagram have indicated in tweets they want to understand how the changes benefit their user’s experience which suggest they will be paying close attention to feedback.
Instagram have said the feature is mandatory for all account holders in the seven countries, but even those users will be able to see who likes their own posts, stating “You can still see your own likes by tapping on the list of people who’ve liked it, but your friends will not be able to see how many likes your post has received.”
If you are not in one of the affected countries, then it is still possible to see the number of likes posts receive from users within those countries.
We’re looking forward to learning more about how this change might benefit everyone’s experience on Instagram.— Instagram (@instagram) 17 July 2019
Why the Need for Change?
Instagram and other social media firms have faced strong criticism in recent years for their handling of bullying and inappropriate content within their platforms.
With numerous studies linking social media use with mental health issues it’s unsurprising that platforms such as Instagram are now exploring ways to better protect users.
A study by the Royal Society for Public Health in the United Kingdom recently found that Instagram was the most detrimental social media platform to young people’s mental health.
Many have suggested the focus on posting the perfect image has made Instagram the most dangerous social media app for mental health as people strive to attain a perfection that does not exist. Considering all of this some would no doubt say the latest changes from Instagram do not go far enough.
The latest update does come in the wake of Instagram introducing a range of new tools and rules to prevent bullying on the app. including a feature called Restrict which allows users to better control how people can contact them within the platform. Instagram has also announced it will now alert users when their accounts are at risk of being disabled.
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