The app will now allow all users to hide likes, though it’s keeping the feature optional and users will need to enable the hide like count option in their settings.
The change is a watered down version of Facebook’s which didn’t give users a choice about whether they would see likes. The company had hoped that making likes less prominent would “depressurize” the app and take away some of the negative pressure associated with the service.
Although the tool has been tested in several countries since 2019, it is now being rolled out globally.
“This has taken longer than I had hoped, but I am pretty excited about… giving people more control over the experience,” Instagram’s boss Adam Mosseri told the BBC.
In its testing and research, Instagram said that removing likes had little impact on behaviour or wellbeing – after concerns that using the platform could be linked to insecurity and poor mental health.
A recent Oxford Internet Institute study – see below – also found there was “little association” between social media use and mental health in teenagers.