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Instagram Testing Hidden Like Counts Globally

Like counts will be disappearing from Instagram all over the world starting this week: The Facebook-owned photo sharing service is extending its test of hiding like counts to all of its territories, TechCrunch was first to report Thursday morning.

Instagram began hiding like counts for a subset of its users in Canada this spring, and subsequently expanded the test to half a dozen other countries, including Brazil, Japan and Australia. Last week, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced that like counts would be hidden from some users in the U.S. as early as this week as well.

The hypothesis behind the test is that hiding like counts could make Instagram less of a popularity contest, and in turn lead to healthier conversations. However, it’s worth pointing out that Instagram isn’t getting rid of likes altogether.

Users can still show their approval by liking posts, and also still see how many users have liked any of their own posts. Like counts are only being hidden from public view. And since it’s a test, only some of Instagram’s users are going to find like counts hidden, while the app will look just as it always has for others.

“While the feedback from early testing has been positive, this is a fundamental change to Instagram, and so we’re continuing our test to learn more from our global community,” an Instagram spokesperson told TechCrunch Thursday.

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Tests to hide these kinds of performance metrics from public view aren’t limited to Instagram. Facebook recently also announced plans to test hidden like counts within its core Facebook app, starting with users in Australia. “We are running a limited test where like, reaction, and video view counts are made private across Facebook,” a Facebook spokesperson said at the time. “We will gather feedback to understand whether this change will improve people’s experiences.”

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