Instagram May Hide 'Likes' On Photos To Stop The Popularity Contest
What is life without likes? Well it looks like we are about to find out.
Instagram is testing a new feature in Canada this week that hides the like count from photos and the views from videos, to encourage users to focus on the content rather than just numbers.
The announcement was made at Facebook's F8 conference on Wednesday.
The trial will remove total likes from feeds, profiles and permalinks -- but it will only impact followers, and not the actual post creator.
Owners will be given access to a separate page only they can see.
“We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get,” an Instagram spokesperson told Tech Crunch.
The numbers will still be important though, because they dictate how the platform's algorithm surfaces content to homepage feeds.
One big concern is that online 'influencers '-- who often get discovered for paid promotions through, or have their sponsored content measured by, their like count -- won't be able to share their value with brand partners.
"We understand that this is important for many creators, and while this test is in exploratory stages, we are thinking through ways for them to communicate value to their brand partners,” the spokesperson said.
Ultimately though, it's all about making the app a more healthy place to be, to ease the pressure and anxiety associated with notching up numbers.
Kanye West is among a number of celebrities who have detailed the damage that obsession with social media can do to users.
Instagram is also testing other features to make it less toxic -- such as a "nudge" feature to warn users if they're about to post something hurtful, and an "away mode" to encourage users to take a break.
The app's head, Adam Mosseri, told the conference that Instagram doesn't just want to stop bullying, but lead the internet's battle against it.
As for whether the new like the feature will be rolled out here in Australia, the photo-sharing platform doesn't know yet.
Instagram will wait to see how the trial in the wild goes before making any definitive decisions on further rollouts.