Instagram users noticed a major change in their picture feeds on March 2, as they could no longer see the number of people who liked a post.
Instead of showing exactly how many people liked a picture, it shows just one person’s specific handle “and others.” Within the hour, Instagram started trending nationally on Twitter with people trying to figure out if this change was permanent.
For those who hated this new change and desperately need to know how many likes photos receive, Instagram Comms has good news.
According to Instagram Comms’ official Twitter page, this sudden change was a glitch in the system. They tweeted, “We’ve been testing a new experience to hide likes on Feed posts. We unintentionally added more people to the test today, which was a bug — we’re fixing this issue and restoring like counts to those people as soon as possible.”
However, not everyone hated the change. Some people loved not seeing likes anymore. One woman tweeted, “did instagram remove the option to see the number of likes under a photo??!? i love this, this is the kind of change we need on social media. NUMBERS AINT S***.”
Why Is Instagram Testing Out Removing Likes in the First Place?
The idea to remove likes from Instagram was first mentioned by the social media app’s CEO Adam Mosseri at Wired25 in October 2019. “We will make decisions that hurt the business if they help people’s well-being and health” Mosseri said, as reported by Business Insider.
Previous to that announcement, Mossier told BuzzFeed News in April 2019 that removing likes was “about creating a less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves.”
While not every user experience likes being hidden, the purpose of this test was in response to to users measuring their self-worth with the number of likes they receive, and the negative mental health effects it takes on users online.
Buzzfeed News explained what the test trial without likes would look like for the average user:
In the test, followers won’t see total likes on photos, or views counts on videos, in their Instagram feeds or when visiting a user’s profile. The account owner will still be able to access their own metrics and see the total likes or view counts for a specific post, although they will need to tap through a post to view those metrics.
Mosseri said at the time that he wasn’t taking the full removal of like counts or video views “off the table,” but as of now, that is not the case.
Hiding Likes on Instagram Caused Mixed Reactions on Twitter
Not everyone was happy to see the likes removed from their favorite social media app, in particular, those who’ve made a business out of their Instagram posts. For those who are not influencers, many expressed glee at having likes be a thing of the past.
One person tweeted, “So Did Instagram? Yes Instagram took away likes and I’m laughing at all the influencers freaking out. Numbers don’t determine your self-worth.”
Another Twitter user found relief in not seeing likes. She tweeted, “So Instagram updated so you can’t see likes and it’s making me feel strangely better about myself knowing influencers have been reduced to “and others.”