Instagram to Start Hiding 'Likes' in the US This Week

Monday November 11, 2019 3:17 AM PST by Tim Hardwick

Instagram is to begin testing hiding content "likes" in the United States this week. The change will first be rolled out to a limited number of accounts in the U.S., and users of those accounts will still be able to see how many likes they got on their own posts.

The plan was announced at WIRED25 by head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, who also took to Twitter to share the news.

"It's about young people," Mosseri said during the Wired panel. "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."

"It means we're going to put a 15-year-old kid's interests before a public speaker's interest," he added. "When we look at the world of public content, we're going to put people in that world before organizations and corporations."

Hiding likes would fundamentally change the way Instagram works, as liking photos and garnering likes is one of the platform's main features.


The Facebook-owned, photo-based platform has conducted similar trials in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. The removal of Instagram likes follows other recent user-focused changes, like the addition of a timer that shows users how long they've spent in the app, and the removal of the Instagram Activities feed.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Saturday praised Instagram's decision to bring its like-hiding experiments to the U.S., retweeting Mosseri's Friday tweet and adding the comment, "Great step."

Dorsey has previously questioned the wisdom of Twitter's own use of likes. At last year's WIRED25 summit, the Twitter chief said: "Right now we have a big Like button with a heart on it and we’re incentivizing people to want it to go up [to get more followers]. Is that the right thing? Versus contributing to the public conversation or a healthy conversation? How do we incentive healthy conversation?"

Twitter has since played down reports that it plans to kill off the like button, but has acknowledged that it continues to look at the function's use and how it fits in with the platform's aim to promote "healthy conversation."

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
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20 weeks ago
Can they remove all the "influencers" too? Thanks.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 weeks ago
While I want to see goodness in this move, I think at the end of the day it’s just a way to hide more information from the user so the algorithm can have even more power over you.

This is, after all, Facebook we’re talking about. Altruism doesn’t exist there.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 weeks ago
I saw a tweet that made good sense. This is about selling ads. Cutting out brands from working directly with users for paid posts and instead getting brands to pay Facebook for the ads.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 weeks ago
Time for them to screenshot and put in stories lol
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 weeks ago
I’ve seen some articles stating that the reason for doing this is to “improve the mental health of users.” What kind of weak minded society have we turned into?

I’m in my mid to late 20s and have had an account on pretty much every social media platform since they started. Not once has my mental health been so negatively affected by the amount of likes other people receive or what content they post.

If your life is so dependent on the validation of others, then your parents did not raise you to be a strong, confident, and independent person. Quit social media and get a therapist for your issues if you can’t handle all that it entails.
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I saw a tweet that made good sense. This is about selling ads. Cutting out brands from working directly with users for paid posts and instead getting brands to pay Facebook for the ads.

Now that makes a whole lot more sense. Shame on instagram for hiding behind the mental health excuse when it’s probably more about advertising.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 weeks ago
I just heard thousands of insta bikini models scream in unison.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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