Summary List Placement
Some Instagram users were surprised to find like counts missing from the app on Tuesday due to a bug. The company has been testing removing likes for years, and accidentally released the test to the public.
“We unintentionally added more people to the test today, which was a bug — we’re fixing this issue and restoring like counts to those people as soon as possible” a spokesperson told CNN.
The change has been in the works for a while. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced in 2019 at Wired25 that the platform would begin hiding “like” counts on posts within a week, Adrienne So at Wired reported. At first, likes will disappear only for certain users as a test of the feature.
“We will make decisions that hurt the business if they help people’s well-being and health,” Mosseri said, according to Wired.
Instagram was already testing out hiding likes in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand, which began in July 2019.
Likes aren’t completely gone for those in the test. You can still view the like count on your own photos and videos — just not posts from others.
In April of that year, Adam Mosseri told BuzzFeed News that removing likes was “about creating a less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves.”
Here is what Instagram looks like without likes, from Australian Instagram where this update has already rolled out:
Instagram isn’t the only social-media platform to experiment with removing public metrics.
In September 2019, Facebook, which owns Instagram, experimented with removing “like” counts on posts, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has hinted at wanting to remove public likes from tweets for years now.