Instagram has released a new feature that allows you to hide like counts on the app. The feature has been tested in different countries since 2019 and has now been released worldwide.
In a Tweet on Wednesday Instagram said, "Starting today, you’ll have more options when it comes to like counts on Instagram. Now you can hide the number of likes people see on your posts. You can also hide the number of likes you see on other people’s posts. Or you can keep things as they are – whatever works for you.” This means users will have two functionalities, the ability to stop seeing like counts on other people's posts as well the ability to hide like counts on their content.
Why did Instagram release the feature?
According to a statement by Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, the goal of the new feature is to, “depressurize people’s experience” on the platform and to make “people feel good about the time they spend” on Instagram. In a statement to the BBC, Mosseri said "This has taken longer than I had hoped, but I am pretty excited about… giving people more control over the experience. I do think there’s more to do in this space. The more we can give people the ability to shape Instagram and Facebook into what's good for them, the better.”
How to hide like counts
To stop seeing likes on other people's posts:
- Go to your profile
- Open the menu options i.e. the three lines in the top right corner
- Select the option 'Posts'
- Select 'Hide Like and View Count'
To disable like counts on your own posts:Currently, there is no way to hide the like counts on all the posts you already have on your profile in one go. You will need to go to individual posts, click on the three dots and select 'Hide Like Count'. You can 'Unhide Link Count' whenever you feel like it. When you are posting new content you can disable like and view counts from the 'Advance Settings' option. Currently, it seems the option to hide like and view counts for reels is not available. No confirmation on whether Instagram plans on adding that feature.
Impact on Mental HealthThere has been a lot of discussion about the impact of social media use on mental health, particularly that of teenagers. There is a commonly held belief that the use of social media can lead to anxiety and depression. Younger users are thought to be more vulnerable. However, a recent study conducted by the Oxford Internet Institute of 430,000 social media users between the age of 10 and 15 years, found little connection between social media and mental health. Instagram has also been testing the feature since 2019 and says that as per their findings, removing the like counts had little impact on behavior and well-being.
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Feature image: Via Twitter @instagramSource:
1. May 2021, Z. Klienman, "Teens, tech and mental health: Oxford study finds no link", [available online] available from: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-56970368 [accessed May 2021]