Skip to main content

Instagram will begin hiding like counts as part of a U.S. test next week

Instagram continues to tweak its user experience, recently making changes such as removing the following tab and promoting the new version of the explore tab in its place. Now, the company has begun testing out one of its most controversial changes in the United States: Hiding like counts.

We first heard that Instagram was considering hiding the number of likes that a photo has earlier this year. In the very earliest tests, the like count was replaced with a note at the bottom of a post that says “liked by [username] and others” without a number attached. At that time, a pop-up showed on post pages saying, “We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes our posts get.”

The company continued to test out hiding likes over the months between then and now, with The Verge reporting that small tests were rolled out to seven different countries including Canada, Ireland, Australia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, and Brazil. Now, at the Wired25 conference this weekend in San Francisco, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced more plans for the future of the like function.

“Right now we’re testing making like counts private,” Mosseri said in a video clip posted to Twitter. “You’ll be able to see how many likes a given photo or video of yours [has received], but no one else will … We’re announcing that we’re going to start testing in the U.S. next week.” He clarified that the hidden likes would not be rolled out to users in the entire country at once, but that a small number of users would see the feature introduced soon.

“Are you into this idea?” Mosseri asked the audience, to a lukewarm smattering of applause. Undeterred, he explained that the idea was to try and “depressurize” Instagram, especially for young people. Given the problems of cyberbullying, self-harm content, and rising rates of anxiety, which have been attributed to social media use in general and Instagram in particular, it’s sensible for the company to take steps to rein in the destructive aspects of the platform.

Mosseri spoke about trying to reduce the competitive nature of Instagram and encourage self-expression and connection between people instead. It remains to be seen how effective that approach can be in an influencer-driven social media landscape, but it could potentially improve the experience of using the site for many people.

Editors' Recommendations

Hive Social is my favorite Twitter alternative, but that’s not saying much
iPhone 14 Pro in hand showing off profile page on Hive Social app

Ever since Elon Musk bought Twitter, it seems that the once-favorite social media site has just been going down in flames. It’s a sad sight to see — fake news and misinformation running rampant from paid “verified” accounts, restoration of formerly banned accounts (they were banned for good reason), and so much other stuff that I just can’t keep up anymore. With all of these changes, there’s been a rise in alternatives to Twitter, like the incredibly popular Mastodon.

I prefer something simpler, like the new Hive Social that has recently made waves. Think of Twitter and Instagram, and what you would end up with if you combined the two. There’s also a little dash of Myspace in there, as you can even add some music to your profile page. I’ve been poking around on Hive Social since I joined a week ago, and while I’ve been enjoying my time there, I also noticed a few things along the way.
Hive reminds me of the early days of Twitter
OnePlus 10T Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Read more
What is BeReal?
BeReal app notification on an Apple Watch.

BeReal has recently become a pretty popular social media app, and if you're wondering what all the fuss is about, you've come to the right place.

In the following sections, we'll go over everything you need to know about the new photo-sharing app that has everyone talking and sharing photos of themselves with their friends at random times of the day.
What is BeReal?

Read more
What is Ambient Mode on YouTube?
The red and white YouTube logo on a phone screen. The phone is on a white background.

YouTube recently announced a number of changes to its video-watching interface. One of these changes is a new feature known as Ambient Mode.

In this guide, we'll go over exactly what Ambient Mode on YouTube is and show you how to enable or disable it.
What is Ambient Mode on YouTube?
Ambient Mode is basically a lighting effect that surrounds a given YouTube video with a soft, glowing light that usually reflects the colors featured in the video itself. The effect kind of resembles the glow of a television screen in a room where the lights are off (which YouTube has said was the inspiration for the effect). YouTube also said that Ambient Mode is supposed to make the video-watching experience of its dark mode "more immersive." Ambient Mode was officially announced in late-October 2022 and is available on the web, Android, and iOS.

Read more