We may be saying sayonara to Instagram likes. The Facebook-owned social-media platform has started experimenting with a new update that would hide how many likes your photos get, according to Fast Company.
The news, which could spell trouble for those of the Influencer set that are trying to grow their social-media imprint, was discovered by tech researcher Jane Manchun Wong, who posted a screenshot on Twitter.
Instagram later confirmed to TechCrunch that the design is an internal prototype not visible to the public yet.
“Instagram is testing hiding like count from audiences…” Wong wrote under the screenshots, which show a photo on the Instagram app. Instead of the amount of likes appearing under the photo as we’re used to, however, it just reads “@deletescape and others liked this post.”
Then, in another screenshot listing the people who have liked the photo, a sentence appears above the users’ profiles. “Only you can see the total number of likes on your post.”
“We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get,” Instagram says in an in-app message explaining the change, which is in the third screenshot from Wong. “During this test, only the person who shared a post will see the total number of likes it gets.” According to Fast Company, this is targeted toward Influencers and would-be Influencers that rely on likes and followers in order to build their brand into a business.
In a statement, a spokesperson from the photo-sharing company said the feature is not being tested “at the moment,” but that “exploring ways to reduce pressure on Instagram is something we’re always thinking about.”
The possible change comes after celebs like Kanye West and Kim Kardashian called on Twitter and Instagram to hide likes and follower counts from posts. While many users gain gratification (and, on the extreme end of the spectrum, self-worth) from the number of likes, this change is one of a growing trend linking “like” and “follower” counts, as well as excessive social media use, to negative affects on mental health and cyber-bullying.
One small step for curbing social-media addiction, one giant leap for our photo of egg drop soup that got eight likes… (But, ya know, #noregrets.)
Oh, and, uh, call your social-media obsessed friend, because she’s going through a rough patch starting…now.