The change is designed to minimize the stress of posting online
Instagram will test hiding the number of "likes" and views of photos and videos—a defining aspect of the platform—in an effort to lessen its users' competitive tendencies.
The platform wants to make the experience of using the app feel “less pressurized,” according to the Washington Post.
The idea was revealed by Instagram’s head, Adam Mosseri, on Tuesday, during Facebook’s annual developer conference, F8.
Instagram to test hiding ‘like’ counts to ease competition, and pressure, for engagement. Are you a fan? https://t.co/feVlUgRzA1— Brandon Pope TV (@BpopeTV) May 2, 2019
He said the change is designed to minimize the stress of posting online, where users tend to fixate on how many likes their videos draw.
“We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they are getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about,” he said.
‘We do not want Instagram to feel like a competition’
In the test run—which will roll out in Canada this week—the Facebook-owned site will display user posts as it normally would, but people scrolling through the feed will not see like counts.
Account owners will still be able to check the tallies on their own photos and videos by clicking through a prompt.
Mosseri said the experiment is part of a broader effort to rethink the fundamentals of how Instagram works and create a more welcoming experience. The company is also testing a redesigned profile page that de-emphasizes follower counts, reports Washington Post.
“We do not want Instagram to feel like a competition, we want to make it a less pressurized environment,” he said.
The psychological drawbacks of social media use have gained more attention in recent years; with parents, consumer advocates and even tech companies pointing to its potential in increasing anxiety and social isolation.