After several years of testing, Instagram and Facebook are introducing a feature that lets users hide likes. Instagram explains in a blog post about the change, “We tested hiding like counts to see if it might depressurize people’s experience on Instagram. What we heard from people and experts was that not seeing like counts was beneficial for some, and annoying to others, particularly because people use like counts to get a sense for what’s trending or popular, so we’re giving [users] the choice.”
How Will Users Hide Likes On Instagram & Facebook?
Users will have the option of hiding likes on their own Instagram posts and/or hiding likes on all posts.
- To hide likes on all Instagram posts that appear in their feed, users can visit the new posts section in settings and swipe the toggle to hide likes. This change will work across all posts viewed.
- To hide likes for their own Instagram posts, users can go to advanced settings when creating a post (or the three dots above any existing post) and swipe the toggle hiding likes and views. Like most other settings for posts, this must be done for each post.
Users can begin hiding likes on Instagram already, and Facebook will be rolling out similar features in the coming weeks.
Will Instagram & Facebook Advertisers And Users Still See All The Same Data If Likes Are Hidden?
Yes, even with likes turned off on Instagram and Facebook, post impression and engagement data is still being gathered. Rebecca Heilweil for Recode reports that the “underlying metrics that power Instagram aren’t changing. ‘Likes’ and data generated by ‘Like’-based activity aren’t going away, and users will still be able to view how many ‘Likes’ their own posts are getting, even if they’ve hidden those numbers from others.”
Why Are Instagram & Facebook Letting Users Hide Likes?
The impact of social media, particularly on younger users, is a hot topic among parents, consumers, advertisers and the young users themselves. While Instagram and Facebook are fun places to share updates and enjoy a view into the lives of strangers and friends, many social media users compare themselves to others, creating negative feelings. These negative feelings can be exacerbated by how many likes are, or aren’t, accumulated on a given post. The new solution from Instagram and Facebook, letting users choose to hide likes, leaves seeing likes up to the user. Additionally, the option to hide likes offers a response for Instagram and Facebook when facing scrutiny about the impact of social media on mental health and self care.
Similarly, Instagram has partnered with the Jed Foundation, “a non-profit organization that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults in the United States,” and several prominent creators to develop an Instagram Guide. The Instagram Guide “offers advice on how to manage pressure online.” Instagram explains that it’s looking to improve policies and products to support the Instagram community. The ability for users to hide likes is one step towards that goal.
How Are Advertisers Impacted By Hidden Likes On Facebook & Instagram?
The impact of hiding likes on Facebook and Instagram is likely to be minimal, since advertisers can choose to keep likes on or off and can still see the reaction to a campaign, even if users can’t. In fact, hiding likes when they are low could be an effective way to avoid negative comments or sentiments about a poorly performing campaign, allowing advertisers the chance to boost the campaign in other ways with the choice to turn likes back on at a later date. As with many social media tweaks, it’s possible that the impacts, positive and negative, could be felt once the roll out kicks in fully and takes effect.
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