“Likes” have been an intrinsic part of the Facebook and Instagram experience for about as long as anyone cares to remember. However, conversation surrounding the more harmful experiences caused by “likes” (anxiety, self-esteem issues, etc.) has become more and more common. Instagram has experimented with giving its users the ability to hide “likes” on posts before, but now it and its parent app, Facebook, is rolling out the option in earnest.
Instagram as you like it
In an announcement post, Instagram explains how it and Facebook decided on adding the feature.
“We tested hiding like counts to see if it might depressurize people’s experience on Instagram. 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.”
The main focus, clearly, is on a user’s choice. The announcement goes on to outline how the feature works. On Instagram, you can hide the likes on posts that pop up in your feed as well as on your own posts. That way the platform becomes solely about pictures, and not about seeing, “how many likes posts get.” The option is found in the new “Posts” section in settings.
The optional feature isn’t available on Facebook just yet, but The Verge outlines how it’ll work there. In your “Settings & Privacy” tab, head over to “Settings”. You’ll find the “Choose Reaction Counts” in “News Feed” settings.
From there you’ll be able to enable two features: one to hide reactions on other people’s posts, and one to hide them on your own.
It’s a nice feature to have on hand for those who struggle with self-confidence issues that are exacerbated by social media. Both platforms have been rolling out tools to help people feel safer online for a while now, though that hasn’t kept Facebook out of the headlines for less wholesome reasons recently.