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Instagram has expanded its test of removing like counts and appears to have restricted the test even further by showing no likes at all.
For the past several months, Instagram was running a test in Canada that hid likes from public view.
However, you could still see who liked a post if you wanted to. It was only the total number of likes that were hidden.
You can see an example of the Canadian test below:
The test in Canada has concluded, and now Instagram is moving forward with a more restrictive test in other countries.
Pedro Dias tweeted an example of what he’s seeing in Brazil, where likes are completely removed.
Dias says this is a test Instagram is running starting with Brazil.
And Instagram likes are gone here in Brazil pic.twitter.com/D6fKiEAYHN
— Pedro Dias: ~/pedro$ (@pedrodias) July 17, 2019
In the screenshot, you can see there’s no mention of the post receiving any likes at all.
Presumably, with 73 comments, the post would have received at least one like. But there’s no evidence of it.
I checked the post on my Instagram app and can confirm it has received hundreds of likes.
After looking into this issue a bit further I discovered Instagram has started hiding likes in Ireland, too.
An Instagram spokesperson confirmed to the Irish press that this test is rolling out to more countries:
“We are now rolling the test out to more countries so we learn more from our global community and see how this can benefit people’s experiences on Instagram.”
Unlike the test in Brazil, the test in Ireland is less restrictive and more closely resembles the test in Canada.
Could it be that Instagram is A/B testing the effects of showing no likes versus some likes?
The latest word from Instagram was to the Irish press, saying the company wants to make people feel “comfortable”:
“We want Instagram to be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves. This includes helping people to focus on the photos and videos they share, not how many likes they get.”
Anecdotally speaking, the test in Canada had a positive impact on users’ mental health. Many Canadians are even lamenting the fact that likes have returned to their feed.
Time will tell how many other countries this test rolls out to.