Beginning next week, some U.S. users of Instagram will be able to test the social media platform hiding the “likes” counter that appears underneath a posted photo or video.
“Right now, we’re testing making like counts private, so you’ll be able to see how many people liked a given photo of yours or a video of yours, but no one else will,” Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram announced Friday.
Mosseri said the platform will not impact “the whole U.S. at once” but is intended to “depressurize” the platform, particularly for younger users.
“It’s about young people,” Mosseri said. “The idea is to try to ‘depressurize’ Instagram, make it less of a competition and give people more space to focus on connecting with people that they love, things that inspire them.”
Mosseri did not outline specifics about when or how long Instagram’s pilot program would last. But it comes months after the company tested hiding likes in several other countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland and Japan.
What do users think about it?
Instagram is not the first platform to experiment with so-called “demetrication” — where digital and social media companies reduce the importance they place on public metrics.
Facebook (Instagram’s parent company), YouTube and Twitter have also tested removing the public engagement metrics from their platforms.
The move to deprioritize likes has not been well-received by everyone. As Wired notes, some have complained “that hiding engagement metrics will make it harder to determine whose follower count is legitimate.” Others lament that a move in this direction will impact marketing strategy for businesses using the platform to attract advertisers and customers.