Countries including Australia and Japan have been the first to have the likes hidden on Instagram accounts in an international test in hopes to “remove pressure” on users.

Currently, Instagram users can see the complete number of people who have liked a post. In this international experiment led by Instagram, users will see a user name “and others” under a post. Essentially hiding the total number of likes from followers. Instagram users are still able to view the total number of likes on their posts privately.

There is growing concern that social media platforms are adding to low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy in young people which is why Instagram has started these trials. They began their trials in Canada in May of this year and it has since then rolled out to Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and Brazil. 

In a statement made by Mia Garlick of Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy, “We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love.” She adds that the goal is that users feel less judged and to see “whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story”. 

The goal is to limit the stress and competition

Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has said that this test aimed to limit the stress of posting online and the competition to receive the most likes on their posts. When the test was first conducted in Canada, Adam had explained, “We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about.”

Mental health linked to Social Media

Likes are a way to measure the amount of success and popularity a user has on Instagram. Studies show that the type of instant feedback that users get from their content can boost self-esteem but cause the opposite effect in people who do not receive the same amount of likes. Studies have also linked social media platforms with altering mental health, particularly in young people. 

In addition to this test, Instagram has also announced a new feature that will confront online bullying.