Why Instagram is hiding public ‘like’ counts

Instagram users might not like this.

The Facebook-owned social media photo-sharing app announced a surprising move Tuesday, saying it will hide like counts on photos and videos from followers in a test run aimed at monitoring users’ behavioral patterns.

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The trial version will be unveiled in Canada later this week and coincides with Mental Health Awareness Month.

Tech blogger Jane Manchun Wong was one of the first to spot Instagram’s test in April. In the screenshots, the company alerted its users of the change saying it wants followers to “focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get.”

The plan, for now, allows only account owners to view like and view counts for specific posts. Followers won’t be able to view the total like counts on photos or views from videos that were posted by another user.

“We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about,” said Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri during Facebook’s F8 conference.

Mosseri told BuzzFeed News the test was “about creating a less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves.” The company, which has built itself largely off it’s like-feature, now wants users to less obsess over it.

While it remains unclear if Instagram plans to expand the test, past studies claimed the belated move might be for the best.

A study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety in 2016 found social media use was “significantly associated with increased depression.”

Another report by the Royal Society For Public Health, which surveyed nearly 1,500 teens and young adults in the UK, found Instagram to be the most negative social media platform compared to Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube in 2017.

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