Instagram to test removing like counts for some US users next week

ByDanny Clemens KGO logo
Sunday, November 10, 2019
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LOS ANGELES -- Get ready, Instagram users: The company is about to start a test where some users in the United States will no longer be able to see how many likes other users' posts get.

Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced the test Friday during a Wired magazine event in San Francisco, explaining that the test was "about young people."

"The idea is to try and depressurize Instagram: make it less of a competition, give people more space to focus on connecting with people that they love, things that inspire them," he said.

In a room of "a couple hundred people," Mosseri told the audience that "definitely a couple of you" are going to be part of the test. He then asked the crowd if they were excited about the test and was met with tepid applause.

Instagram will investigate how the test impacts user sentiment and user behavior as well as the creator ecosystem, Mosseri added.

The Facebook-owned company announced over the summer that it was testing out hiding like counts for a subset of users in Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand.

It's not yet clear if the test in the United States will run exactly the same way as that test, where Instagram said individual photos have been "liked by [friend's username] and others" in place of a numeric like count.

While users in that test weren't able to see how many likes other users' photos have received, they were still able to see how many times their own posts had been liked. In addition to likes, users could no longer see how many views videos get.

According to screenshots from impacted users, those who are included in the international test received the following message when they opened the Instagram app: "We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only you will be able to see the total number of likes on your posts."

A similar test has been underway in Canada since May. It's not immediately clear how the test has impacted user behavior.