Next week Instagram will expand its test of hiding Like counts from everyone but a post’s creator to some users in the United States. “We will make decisions that hurt the business if they help people’s well-being and health. We have to see how it affects how people feel about the platform, how it affects how they use the platform, how it affects the creator ecosystem” says Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri.
The intention is to “reduce anxiety” and “reduce social comparison” by making it less of a competition, and give people more space to focus on connecting with the people they love and things that inspire them.
Instagram’s growing interest in shopping, and how it can provide new revenue streams to influencers. He also described Instagram’s approach to well-being where it identifies and addresses problems such as hate speech, finds positions where it can lead as with fighting bullying with Like count hiding.
Instagram began testing this in April in Canada and expanded it to Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand in July. Facebook started a similar experiment in Australia in September.
Instagram has to be mindful that it doesn’t significantly decrease creators’ or influencers’ engagement and business success. Most influencers across tiers of follower counts saw their Like counts fall in countries where the hidden Like count test was active. Likes fell 3% to 15% in all the countries for influencers with 5,000 to 20,000 followers.
In Japan, influencers with 1,000 to 5,000 or 100,000 to 1 million followers did the change lead to a boost in Likes — of about 6% in both groups. Those trends could relate to how users in other nations users might rely on more herd mentality to know what to Like.
Mosseri stated the company wasn’t afraid to hurt its own bottom line, impairing the careers of influencers may not be acceptable unless the positive impacts on well-being are significant enough.