Bad news, influencers: Instagram announced on Thursday that it would be running a test that hides the total number of likes and video views seen by people using the app in seven different countries – including Australia and New Zealand.
We’re currently running a test that hides the total number of likes and video views for some people in the following countries:
✅ New Zealand pic.twitter.com/2OdzpIUBka
— Instagram (@instagram) July 17, 2019
Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, and Japan are joining Australia and New Zealand in the not-so-voluntary trial, as Instagram attempts to refocus its branding towards content rather than likes or other social metrics.
While users in these countries will still be able to see the number of likes their own posts rack up, their like count won’t be visible to others. The testing has already been underway in Canada since May, and this latest rollout hints that the platform has recorded results that align with its future plans.
Mia Garlick, the Director of Policy at Facebook Australia & New Zealand, said the change has been made to make Instagram a place where “people feel comfortable expressing themselves.”
“We are now rolling the test out to Australia so we can learn more about how this can benefit people’s experiences on Instagram, and whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story,” she said.
There’s probably two sides to this new move: Instagram – and its parent company Facebook – has been trying hard to make it look like they care about users’ wellbeing and the impact social media has on the general public. Moves that pivot the app away from focusing so heavily on the now-expected feedback loop of content and social rankings definitely fit in with that goal.
It’s also likely that the folks at Instagram have noticed that people probably post more content when they’re not concerned with how that content will perform. Remember the early days of Instagram when everyone was posting three photos a day, all heavily-edited and filtered into oblivion?
Of course, this could also be Facebook realising an easier way to deal with hundreds of thousands of fake accounts falsely pumping up like-counts is to hide those metrics from the public.
Either way, this in the new, likeless reality Australians face for the foreseeable future. You could always just upload a screenshot of how many likes your photos get.