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Instagram, Facebook Testing Feature That Hides Likes

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Instagram and Facebook will be testing a feature that allows users to hide ‘like’ counts on their own posts or those by other people. The whole idea is apparently to reduce the social pressure that people can feel on these platforms – part of the companies’ efforts against cyberbullying and other toxic behaviour.

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Instagram will be doing it first for a select group of users, followed by Facebook in the coming weeks. That being said, both platforms have experimented with such a feature since 2019.

The latest test follows mixed user responses to the like-hiding experiments, Instagram said. “Some people found this beneficial but some still wanted to see like counts so they could track what’s popular,” said a company spokesperson.

People included in the Instagram test – a small slice of its global users – will still be able to privately view their own ‘like’ count.

In 2019, Instagram boss Adam Mosseri laid out the rationale behind hiding likes. According to CNBC, he said, “The idea is to try and depressurize Instagram, to make it less of a competition, give people more space to focus on connecting with the people they love and the things that inspire them.”

Instagram and parent company Facebook have made fighting cyberbullying and predatory behaviour a very conspicuous priority, while working to release a version of Instagram for children below the age of 13.

Those plans (to build an Instagram for kids) have already received strong criticism over privacy concerns and their exploitative potential.

(Source: Reuters, CNBC.)




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