Instagram, Facebook finally allow users to hide Likes
In mid-April, Instagram was spotted testing a setting that would allow users to hide the number of Likes from others' posts showing up on their feeds as well as their own posts. Facebook was expected to follow suit with a similar implementation. Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, confirmed that the feature is now rolling out to users worldwide. Here are more details.
Interestingly, a 2017 study by the Royal Society for Public Health ranked Instagram as "the most detrimental to young people's mental health and wellbeing." An Instagram spokesperson told The Verge that the new feature has been added after the platform drew flak from health experts. They suggested that removing the Like count could reduce anxiety and social pressures for Facebook and Instagram users.
When the feature was first rolled out as a test for select users around the world, Instagram said that users would be able to hide the Like count for individual posts (their own) and/or for the rest of the posts they see on their feed. Instagram has released the feature virtually unchanged for users around the world.
When you update the Instagram app to the latest version, you will be greeted by a pop-up explaining how Instagram intends to use the new feature to bring the focus back to the content that users share. The pop-up also has a toggle using which you can instantly hide the number of Likes for all the posts visible on your feed.
If you didn't get the pop-up, you can navigate to Instagram's Settings > Privacy > Posts (under the "Interactions" section). There a toggle will allow you to show/hide Like and view counts on posts from other users. To do the same for your posts, you can select Advanced Settings while creating the post and turn on "Hide like and view counts on this post".
However, it isn't clear how this feature will impact those with business accounts on Instagram. Importantly, users will still be able to see a list of everyone who liked a post, although the number of Likes will be hidden. A company spokesperson said that a similar option to hide Likes and Views will be made available on Facebook in the coming weeks.