Instagram testing new feature to hide ‘likes’

DENVER -- Do you or your children compare how many likes your social media posts get versus your friends'?

Instagram announced it is expanding a test of a new feature that would hide the number of likes each post receives.

Instagram started the experiment in Canada in May, but has now expanded it to include Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand. The goal is to create a less competitive and less pressurized environment.

“I think it is a step in the right direction to be addressing this bigger issue,” said Apryl Alexander, a clinical assistant professor of psychology at the University of Denver. She says too many people tie their sense of self-worth to the number of likes they get.

If the change was made across the board, it could also impact social media influencers who can make huge sums of money with one post.

Brandon Zelasko, of SE2 Communications, says he believes the focus will become more about engagement and conversations than likes.

“For about two years, we've been talking to clients about the importance of actual true engagement through influencers, as opposed to just the number of likes because frankly, anybody can buy likes on posts,” Zelasko said.

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