In a bid to improve user experience and bring Instagram back to what it should be—a place to connect and positively share content without worrying how many ‘likes’ you’re going to get and competing with others, the social media platform today has introduced its second phase in a global test which works to disable the feature. The rollout, which first began trial in Canada earlier this year (and is still going strong) will, as of today, be hitting Australian shores along with five other countries including Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil and New Zealand later in the month. So what exactly does this mean for your feed? Although you, yourself, will see be able to see who (and how many) likes a pic on your account receives, this will not be visible to others. Instead, it will appear as below; replacing the total number of likes with and ‘others’. You can however, still click through to view a list of names.
“We want Instagram to be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves. We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love,” said Mia Garlick, ANZ director of policy at Facebook, which owns Instagram. “We are now rolling the test out to Australia so we can learn more about how this can benefit people’s experiences on Instagram, and whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story.” As for businesses and influencers, Instagram said that the testing will not impact measurement tools. Necessary data and statistics can still be gathered, however again, likes will not be visible to the public. It’s been stated that Australia was amongst the countries chosen for the trial thanks to a fast-growing, highly engaged community of millions of Instagram users and tech-savvy audience. It will be interesting to see how this trial affects how people use and engage with the platform, what it means for those who make money through it and most importantly, what improvements it has when it comes to addressing issues such as mental health.