Instagram rolls out like-ban globally

Instagram has hidden like counts in selected countries internationally as a limited trial, in a bid to detoxify itself.

The test will see likes surreptitiously removed from view across Canada and other nations to help gauge responses to the radical move, as it is designed to eliminate psychological pressures to become more popular.

Under the new regimen, users can still see who has liked a specific post but will no longer be given a live tally, meaning people must manually count likes themselves if they wish to stroke their ego.

Confirming the extension in a series of tweets Instagram wrote: “Heads up! We've been testing making likes private on Instagram in several countries this year. We're expanding those tests to include a small portion of people in the US next week. Looking forward to the feedback!

“Our interest in hiding likes is just to depressurize Instagram for young people. It'll likely affect how much some people engage on Instagram, probably liking a bit less and posting a bit more, but the main thing we're trying to learn is how this affects how people feel."

In making the switch Instagram stressed it was mindful of the importance of likes as an indicator of engagement for influencers and marketers and would investigate other ways of gauging popularity.