Around the same time that Instagram rolled out Live Rooms, another change to the platform was noticed by its users. That said, there wasn’t any official announcement of such, which left many people on Instagram confused.
Instagram Apologizes for a Feed Bug
On Tuesday, Instagram’s PR team tweeted that they have been “testing a new experience to hide likes on Feed posts.” Unfortunately, a bug added more users to the test than planned. The bug was fixed within hours of the team acknowledging it, but it still rattled much of Instagram’s userbase.
Instagram Head Adam Mosseri took to Twitter a few days after to address the issue:
Live Rooms & Private Like Counts 😳
This week we unintentionally launched private like counts to a lot of people, our apologies. The idea is clearly polarizing, so we’re looking for a way to bring the idea to people who want it and not to those who don’t.#thisweekoninstagram pic.twitter.com/aS0p4tkDfV
— Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) March 5, 2021
Hiding likes on Instagram isn’t a new concept. In fact, in July 2019, Instagram ran a test for this very feature in July 2019 for some users in select countries (Austrailia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand).
It was to be expected that if the test went well, Instagram would officially release the feature worldwide. However, Mosseri explains in his video that the team efforts had to be split.
Some team members were to focus on providing more support for small businesses and those affected by the pandemic, while others were to help fight against racial injustice, given recent events in the US.
Why Does Instagram Want To Hide Likes?
One of the negative effects of social media is depression and/or anxiety, caused by the constant pressure to show the “best parts” of your life. Instagram arguably pushes this idea more so than any other social media platform, simply because the platform focuses on photo and video content.
Instagram is well-aware of this effect, and is trying to find the best way to combat it. ”The idea (…) was to make like counts private, so only you could see your like counts. To try and depressurize Instagram as an experience a bit for people,” Mosseri says.
Do You Think Instagram Likes Should Be Hidden?
The reaction to hidden like counts has been—as Mosseri aptly puts it—polarizing. On one hand, you have positive reactions to the feature, saying that it would likely help prevent users from comparing their like counts to that of other users.
On the other hand, you have… well, the total opposite. Some users argue that like counts shouldn’t be hidden, as its this number that acts their indicator of what kind of content their followers want to see.
That point doesn’t really stand up though. Instagram has made clear that this feature, when implemented, would only hide the like counts of other users. You will still be able to see your own.
This is an upgrade from Instagram’s previous live stream limit, which only let two users live stream at once.
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