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Your Instagram might feel a bit different starting next week. The company has announced that it will start testing a new feature next week that will hide likes for users in the United States. Only a select group of users in the U.S. will be part of the testing that aims to make Instagram a safer and healthier place on the Internet.
The company has already tested hiding likes for accounts in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Italy, and Brazil. The feature still makes likes visible to the user posting content, but hidden from their audience. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri spoke with Wired’s Arielle Pardes and actor Tracee Ellis Ross about the new initiative saying that “it’s about young people.”
“The idea is to try and depressurize Instagram. Make it less of a competition. Give people more space to focus on connecting with people that they love, things that inspire them,” he said. “But it’s really focused on young people. We have to see how it affects how people feel about the platform, how they use the platform, how it affects creator ecosystem, but I’ve been spending a lot of time on this personally.”
As Wired noted, Instagram isn’t the only social media company testing features that hide engagement metrics. Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook have also been working on their own strategies.
So far there’s no concrete data that proves hiding likes or other engagement metrics improve a user’s mental health, but it’s likely Instagram’s experiments will help determine just what, exactly, all those “likes” are doing to us.