Instagram has started a trial in Australia to remove the number of likes a post receives.
The trial first began in Canada in May and is now rolling out to six other countries: Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Ireland, Italy and Japan.
Under the changes, Instagram will now hide the total number of likes on an image and video views in Feeds, Permalink pages and Profiles from the public.
“We want Instagram to be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves,” Mia Garlick, Facebook’s director of policy in Australia and New Zealand, says.
“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.”
The pressure of gaining likes has been criticised for impacting on the mental wellbeing of users, particularly younger ones, with a Pew Research Centre study showing 37% of US teens feel pressured to post content that will attract a lot of likes.
Instagram will remove the total number of likes displayed under posts
Australian social media experts are confident the move will improve the wellbeing of users and influencers.
Suzie Shaw, MD at We Are Social, says hiding the number of likes will create an environment where “self-expression, human connections and genuine engagement” is valued more than the “ephemeral reward” of likes.
Users are still able to see the number of likes they receive and Facebook says it won’t affect the measurement tools, such as Insights or Ad Manager, used by businesses and creators on the platform.
Those impacted by the trial will be notified by a banner at the top of their feed.
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