Instagram began hiding “like” counts from some Canadian users in May. According to recent news reports, people seem to love it.
“Without seeing the likes count on feed posts now, I find myself more clearly focused on the actual quality of the content being posted,” user Matt Dusenbury recently told The Verge.
Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has since expanded the feature to a handful of other countries, including Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. A Facebook executive said the goal of Instagram’s like experiment is to help users feel less judged and be able to focus more on the quality of their content.
With the like-hiding feature, users can click through to see the total number of likes their content generates — but they are the only ones who can see the total number. In other words, a user can’t see the total number of likes for anyone else’s post.
Not all social media savants are excited about the feature, though.
“This would be better if it was optional,” Elizabeth Villalobos tweeted. “Those who want to hide their likes can have the option to hide them, those who don’t want to won’t need to. You already give us this option for comments, why not likes?”
Twitter is also mulling change. Besides rolling out its controversial new design, the social media company announced earlier this month that it was testing a feature, also in Canada, to hide particular replies from conversations.
Similar to Instagram’s modifying the like button, Twitter executives have expressed hope that allowing users to hide replies will elevate all users’ experience with the website, specifically by encouraging more civil discourse.
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