(NEW YORK) — Big news for Instagram users!
The photo-sharing social media app is now giving users the option to hide likes, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, announced exclusively Wednesday on ABC News’ Good Morning America.
The new feature, also available on Facebook, includes two new settings, one that allows users to turn off likes when scrolling on the feed and another that allows users to turn off likes on their own posts.
Instagram announced in July 2019 that it would start testing the hiding of likes on some posts, saying at the time it was doing so to allow users and their followers to be able to “focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”
But with the new option, some Instagram users, particularly influencers, are wondering if their content will be as valuable if their photo-like counts are hidden.
Instagram says its new option allows users to tailor their social media experience to their specific preferences.
Haven Shepherd, a Paralympic swimmer from Missouri, was one of the beta testers who tried Instagram’s new approach to the “like” button. She told GMA she believes making Instagram posts less comparative is an especially good idea for adolescents who use the app.
“I’m just putting it out there of like, this is who I am, this is what I’m going through, and what we’ll see what happens from here,” she said of the new approach.
Schuyler Bailar, an LGBTQ+ advocate and trans athlete, also tested the new feature and said he believes it can “shift” the idea of Instagram as a “popularity contest.”
“I think that oftentimes looking at those metrics can can be triggering for a lot of people, or if not triggering it can be difficult because it’s putting a number to everything in their experience,” he said. “I think that if we can focus then more on the message that we’re provided by the posts, the content of the post, as opposed to checking the likes, I think that can really shift that that idea of popularity contest.”
Bailar, who has been compensated to make videos for Instagram, said he likes the idea of making Instagram posts less about the reaction.
“There’s numbers for literally everything these days,” he said. “We can get sort of obsessive about that, or, even worse, attach our self-worth to that, especially when it’s stuff we’re producing.”
The new feature will start rolling out Wednesday and should be available to all users within two to three days, according to Instagram.
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