Instagram is hiding the number of likes on some posts in the UK as part of a global trial to figure out how it can “remove pressure” on users.
People who are part of the test will be selected randomly.
Instagram is not revealing how many users will be involved, but advised those selected: “You’ll no longer see the total number of likes and views on photos and videos posted to Feed unless they’re your own.”
When the trial was first launched Mia Garlick, policy director for Facebook in Australia and New Zealand, said the goal was for users to feel less judged.
“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 said.
The moves comes after some studies linked social media platforms to mental health difficulties for young people.
In August, nutritionists told Sky News they believed certain accounts on platforms like Instagram are to blame for the rise in people with eating disorders.
Rhiannon Lambert, a nutritionist on London’s Harley Street, told Sky News: “Instagram is dangerous when it comes to food, so dangerous.
“For somebody that’s suffering from any type of mental health illness, especially orthorexia, with the variety of influencers claiming that what they eat can heal something or solve something, that’s not necessarily true and it can cause a condition to get even worse.”
Tara Hopkins, Instagram’s EMEA head of public policy, explained: “If you’re in the test, you’ll no longer see the total number of likes and views on photos and videos posted to Feed unless they’re your own.
“While the feedback from early testing has been positive, this is a fundamental change to Instagram, and so we’re continuing our test to learn more from our global community.”
Earlier this year, a poll carried out for the Royal Society For Public Health (RSPH) found that the like button was considered one of the most toxic elements of social media.
The findings came ahead of Scroll Free September, a month-long campaign encouraging people to take a break from social media.
RSPH chief executive Shirley Cramer said: “While we welcome steps by industry to mitigate harms related to social media use, it is notable that two of the most toxic elements of platforms are the like button and push notifications, elements specifically created by social media companies themselves.”