Facebook-owned photo sharing platform Instagram is testing a feature that will give users more control over their like counts on posts. Instagram has announced a new “small global test” that will give users of the app three options when it comes to the like count – choosing not to see like counts on anyone’s posts, turning them off for their own posts, or keeping the original. The company also said that it was working on a similar experience for Facebook, but hasn’t clarified what it may look like. This comes as an extension of an Instagram test that hid the public like count for certain users. However, previously, users were not given a choice if they saw the like count or not. Instagram had told users at the time that it wanted people to focus on the content they share on the platform, not on how many likes they are getting.
The move to hide like counts wasn’t received well by influencers initially, as they were concerned that hiding likes would impact their brand deals as the engagement won’t be public, but that hasn’t been the case since the influencers are able to view their own like counts privately and share them with brands. Facebook also tested hiding the like count in 2019. The test hid public likes, reactions, and video counts. It is unclear whether the new test on Instagram could apply for all engagements or just the like counts.
This test is not live on Facebook yet, and the company has said that it will take it forward after learning from the Instagram test and will share more soon.