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Instagram Starts Test To Hide Number of Likes Posts Receive for Users in 7 Countries

2 minute read

Some users opening their Instagram apps will notice a difference in the popular social media site. The number of likes, typically displayed under users’ posts will no longer be visible.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, announced on Wednesday that some users in seven countries will not be able to see the number of likes that other users’ pictures have received or the number of times that other people’s videos have been viewed.

Users will still be able to see the number of likes and views their own posts have received.

The company tweeted that they were “looking forward to learning more about how this change might benefit everyone’s experience on Instagram.”

A spokesperson for Instagram told TIME that they were testing out the change because “we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”

The reaction online was mixed with many people replying to the company saying that “no one wanted this” change.

Others, however, including pop star Troye Sivan, reacted positively to the news.

Instagram told TIME that they first implemented the test with users in Canada last May. “We’re expanding the test to a number of countries to get a better sense of how the experience resonates with Instagram’s global community.”

Studies have shown that receiving smart phone notifications, such as the likes Instagram users see, sends a rush of the chemical dopamine to the brain. This phenomenon makes social media addictive and effects the brain in a manner similar to gambling. Social media has been linked to mental health issues among young people. A 2017 study by the Royal Society for Public Health, in the U.K., described Instagram as being the social media platform that was the most detrimental to young people’s mental health.

This news comes in the wake of Instagram introducing a slew of new tools and policies to prevent bullying on the app. The website introduced a tool called Restrict which allows users to better control how others contact them and interact with their accounts. Instagram also announced on Thursday that it will now alert users when their accounts are at risk of being disabled.


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