Instagram is looking to follow Twitter in changing the fundamental ‘Like’ function.
Wong shared a tweet including a photo of an Instagram post, sans Likes. Typically, Instagram shows ‘Liked by [username] and [number] others’ under a post, which makes it easy to see how many people have Liked a photo. However, the new system does away with the number, showing ‘Liked by [username] and others’ instead.
Further, you can click through to see the total number of Likes on your own posts.
Finally, Wong’s screenshots include a small bubble explaining the test Instagram is running. According to the explanation, Instagram wants your followers to “focus on what you share, not how many Likes your posts get.”
Instagram is testing hiding like count from audiences,
as stated in the app: "We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get" pic.twitter.com/MN7woHowVN
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) April 18, 2019
Naturally, Wong’s tweet received some backlash from users. Most seemed to equate not showing Likes with Instagram removing Likes entirely, which isn’t the case.
Ultimately, I think the change could be for the best. By hiding the number of Likes, Instagram effectively removes a status symbol from the platform. Whether that results in people caring more about content remains to be seen.
Unlike Instagram, Twitter considered removing the Like button from its platform entirely. The move would be to promote healthy conversations.