You can now hide like counts on Instagram and Facebook. After years of testing on both platforms, Facebook and Instagram have settled on an opt-in experience for hiding like counts to allow people to disable seeing them across all posts and an option to hide their own public like counts from others.
Instagram is enabling this feature after years of tests and pressure from experts to make changes to its platform. The service was ranked as “the most detrimental to young people’s mental health and wellbeing” in a 2017 study by the Royal Society for Public Health UK. Experts have argued that removing a like button or like counts could help reduce anxiety and social pressures for some Facebook and Instagram users.
“We tested hiding like counts to see if it might depressurize people’s experience on Instagram,” says an Instagram spokesperson. “What we heard from people and experts was that not seeing like counts was beneficial for some, and annoying to others, particularly because people use like counts to get a sense for what’s trending or popular, so we’re giving you the choice.”
You’ll now be able to toggle an option to hide all like counts on all posts in your feed on both Instagram and Facebook today. A separate option will let you hide your own like counts to others. You can also hide like counts on a per-post basis on Instagram, so there’s a little more flexibility to allow people to focus on the content of posts rather than the like counts. Facebook will get these same per-post controls in the next few weeks.
Facebook first started testing hidden like counts in September 2019 as an experiment to see if the change would improve the experience of using the platform. Instagram has also been testing a variety of ways to hide like counts in recent years, with a test for this same optional feature just last month.