Instagram gives everyone the ability to hide likes

After two years of testing, likes are now optional.


More than two years after it first began experimenting with hiding likes, Instagram is making the feature official. The app will now allow all users to hide likes, though it’s keeping the feature optional and users will need to enable the obscured like counts in their settings.

With the update users can opt to remove likes counts from their own posts, or hide likes on other users’ posts in their feeds. Users who choose to hide likes on their own photos will still be able to see who interacted with their posts, but it will take a few extra taps to access the stats.

The change is a somewhat watered down version of Facebook’s original experiment, which didn’t give users a choice about whether they would see likes. The company had hoped that making likes less prominent would “depressurize” the app and take away some of the negative pressure associated with the service. But the early experiments have proved controversial among some users, and Instagram chief Adam Mosseri recently told The Information that hiding likes was “polarizing” and that his “rationale has changed.”

Users can enable posts without likes in their settings.

At the same time, Instagram and Facebook are still very much grappling with questions about how social media affects mental health, particularly for younger users. And lawmakers have raised questions about teens’ mental health amid the company’s plan to create a version of Instagram for kids younger than 13.

In its latest announcement, Instagram says it plans to fund more outside research into its platform, including how it affects teens and younger users. The company is soliciting proposals from researchers and nonprofits to “help us better understand experiences on Instagram that may or may not contribute to the safety and health of our community.”

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