INSTAGRAM has removed the “like” count from posts as part of a trial which starts in Australia today.
The change means Instagram users won’t be able to see how many likes other people’s photos get.
But Instagram lovers will still be able to see a list of likes on their own posts, just not the overall number.
The aim of the trial is to create a “less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves”.
The drastic change is compulsory for all account holders in Australia.
But executives say it doesn’t mean the end of influencers because brands and businesses can still see how many views and likes they get.
An Instagram spokesman said: “For businesses and creators on Instagram, this test will not affect measurement tools like Insights or Ads Manager.”
The trial follows a similar change introduced in Canada in May and will be extended to New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Italy and Brazil.
The Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy, Mia Garlick, said Instagram should be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves, rather than being 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 in a statement.
“We are now rolling the test out to Australia so we can learn more about how this can benefit people’s experiences on Instagram, and whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story.”
Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, says the trial is temporary and the social media firm will respond to feedback.
Instagram – the key facts
Here's what you need to know…
- Instagram is a social network for sharing photos and videos
- It was created back in October 2010 as an iPhone-exclusive app
- A separate version for Android devices was released 18 months later
- The app rose to popularity thanks to its filters system, which lets you quickly edit your photos with cool effects
- When it first launched, users could only post square 1:1 ratio images, but that rule was changed in 2015
- In 2012, Facebook bought Instagram for $1billion in cash and stock
- In 2018, some analysts believe the app is worth closer to $100billion
- In October 2015, Instagram confirmed that more than 40billion photos had been uploaded to the app
- And in 2018, Instagram revealed that more than a billion people were using the app every month
It comes after Instagram started testing a new feature that allows you to secretly ban comments from users so their posts under your photos aren’t visible to anyone other than you and them.
This is called ‘shadow banning’ because the person who has their comments blocked will be none the wiser.
Instagram will also be warning bullies when they go to post something that it deems to be offensive.
The app will use artificial intelligent to spot comments that could cause offence so it can ask the user: “Are you sure you want to post this?”
It will also provide a message to users it confronts which states: “We’re asking people to rethink comments that seem similar to other that have been reported.
“If we made a mistake, let us know.”
The restricting comments feature allows people to click on a comment they don’t like and either report it or restrict the user that posted it.
When you restrict someone only you and them will be able to see what they post on your photos but you can selectively choose some of their comments to be publicly visible if you want to.
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This ‘shadow banning’ technique will also hide when you’re online to that user or when you’ve read one of their direct messages.
These new features are examples of Instagram stepping up it’s anti-bullying stance.
The social network said that tests of the features did encourage some users to rethink posting nasty comments.