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Earlier this year, Instagram started experimenting with hidden likes on its platform in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand. As of last week, this experiment went global. So fear not if you can’t see the number of likes on a post, it just means you’re part of this experiment too. 


The experiment


It is an interesting take from the social media giant to turn away from likes and views being public knowledge – do users respond to the numbers below pictures more than the pictures themselves?


“The idea is to try to ‘depressurize’ Instagram, make it less of a competition and give more space to focus on connecting with people that they love, things that inspire them.” – Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, said during an interview. 


With the rise of influencer marketing, likes and views can easily be monetized. It would be interesting to see if any popular influencers notice a significant shift in their like counts, for better or for worse. With that in mind, Instagram also stated that it’s looking for other ways that influencers and content creators can keep their sponsorships intact, even though they are sometimes dependent on like counts.


The response – Yay or nay?


This experiment has received mixed responses from the world of social media. Some users like Nicki Minaj or not supportive of the idea – she has already said that she won’t take to Instagram to post content because they’re “removing the likes”, in a deleted thread on Twitter she also stated that like counts help validate independent artists. Cardi B weighed in too, saying comment likes cause more harm than likes themselves because they allow people to acknowledge and reward negative comments on positive posts.


On the other hand, several influencers have come out in support of Instagram’s decision because of its potential to improve users’ mental health. One of Instagram’s top ten most-followed users, Kim Kardashian West has spoken in favor of this change, calling it “beneficial”.


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