Instagram may ditch one of the features that makes Instagram so popular.
The company is trialling a version of Instagram that hides the number of Likes that users’ posts have racked up. Likes aren’t being ditched − instead, they’re being made private.
“One of the ideas we’re currently experimenting with is like counts private, for instance, because we don’t want Instagram to be such a competition,” Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, told CBS News this week.
He added: “You can still Like [Instagram posts] in this current test. You just can’t see the number of Likes unless it’s your own post. So you don’t have to do all this social comparison.”
It would be a hugely significant move. After all, many people are only on Instagram for the Likes.
They’re now a form of social currency, with the general rule being: the more Likes your pictures get, the more popular you are. The implication is that the opposite is also true.
Quite simply, but Likes make it easy to put people down, and with cyberbullying a huge issue across online platforms, hiding Likes could close down an avenue of abuse.
And though the public face of the change is that followers would focus more on actual content rather than the number of Likes received, the move would also help Instagram combat fake Likes, which users can buy in order to appear to have a bigger following than they actually do.
If you type “Instagram Likes” into Google, the top suggestions include: free, app, and buy.
Facebook first revealed the private Likes test at its F8 conference at the end of April, but there’s no guarantee that the change will come to the official version of the app.
Read more: How to delete an Instagram account
“We want [Instagram] to be a place where people spend more of their energy connecting with the people that they love and the things that they care about,” Mosseri continued.
He added: “Will we do this one? It depends. We’ll see if it works or not. But I’m really passionate about us being open to those types of changes.”