Instagram launches test where users can choose to see likes

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Instagram is launching a small global test on Wednesday where users can choose whether to hide likes on their own or other people’s posts, a Facebook spokeswoman said.

The photo-sharing site, which is owned by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB ), said this latest test came after seeing mixed responses to its experiments in which it removed “likes,” which are commonly used as a measure of popularity.

“In 2019, we started hiding ‘likes’ for a small group of people to understand if it takes some pressure off of posting on Instagram,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.

“Some people found it beneficial, but some wanted to see the tally to track what’s popular,” he added.

Facebook is also exploring a similar experience that will roll out in the coming weeks, in response to calls from users for more controls over how they interact with content on the platform. Facebook had previously tested hiding likes on others’ posts in Australia.

Last month, Instagram accidentally hid likes for a large number of users in what was supposed to be a small test, leading to strong reactions.

Some users saw it as an important step for their mental health, while others considered it catastrophic for creators who partner with brands. Likes are expressed by pressing a heart-shaped icon on a user’s post.

Users in the Instagram test will still be able to view their own like count privately. The test will involve a small percentage of global users, but the company declined to disclose the number.

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