We’ve been hearing for some time now that eventually Instagram and Facebook will hide like counts on your posts on their platforms. They have been doing studies and tests on how visible popularity impacts usage and at the same time the mental health of their users. It looks like they have now come up with a sort of compromise: removing the like counts will be up to the user. They have started rolling this out on Instagram but it’s only applicable to the feed and not other parts of the app or even on Facebook.
The feature is pretty straightforward to use and apply on Instagram. Before you post a photo or video, you can go to the advanced settings and choose “Hide Like and Video Counts On This Post” and it will do as it says. You can also apply this for existing posts. Just tap the three buttons on the upper right corner and you’ll see a new “Hide Like Count” option there. You will have to do this for each post though so that may be a bit too tedious.
You also have the option to hide like counts in your timeline if you also don’t want to see how many likes other people in your feed are getting. Go to the settings > privacy > posts and you’ll see a new setting “Hide Like and View Counts” and then toggle it on. All the posts from people you follow will no longer show the likes and view counts, but only for your account of course. Others can still see all the likes and views if they do not turn on this setting.
The journey towards this feature has been pretty wild. Instagram started experimenting with this by hiding like counts for a few years and eventually adding more to the test group. Earlier this year, they had to roll back an unintended wider release and said that they will be rolling it out officially soon. Well this seems to be the official one although it’s different from what we expected.
Giving users the option to turn it on or off seems to be the wiser choice for now as not everyone is affected by seeing like and view counters. “What one person wants from their Instagram experience is different from the next, and people’s needs are changing,” is Instagram’s official explanation.