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Instagram is currently testing a new design change in seven countries now that makes likes hidden in order to determine whether it creates a healthier environment for users.
The feature is now making its way to Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand, after originally being rolled out in Canada in April.
The change was first detected by reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong in April.
Instagram is testing hiding like count from audiences,— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) April 18, 2019
as stated in the app: "We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get" pic.twitter.com/MN7woHowVN
Speaking with TechCrunch at the time, Instagram said it was hoping to have users focus more on content than how many likes certain posts receive.
“We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get,” a company spokesperson said.
While Instagram hasn’t commented on the testing’s latest expansion, the move suggests that the company is taking the prospect of hiding likes seriously.
As far as Instagram influencers who make a living based on having popular content, the company said it is exploring other ways to make their value known to brands.
“We understand that this is important for many creators, and while this test is in exploratory stages, we are thinking through ways for them to communicate value to their brand partners,” the spokesperson added.
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Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter based in Seattle, covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.