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Instagram may no longer want you to like on Instagram. Screenshots uncovered by researcher Jane Manchun Wong show that Instagrammay be considering shaking things up on its social media site so posts no longer show exactly how many people have liked your post. Instead, you would see that a post was liked by a few named handles “and others.”
“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. “During this test, only the person who shared a post will see the total number of likes it gets.” The message is seemingly targeted at influencers or would-be Influencers.
The change seems to stem from a growing belief that like counts are bad for users’ mental health and can lead people to dangerous situations in pursuit of photos that will generate a lot of likes. Back in 2016, Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom told TechCrunch that one of the reasons they created Instagram Stories was to get away from the pressure of like counts, and this could be the next stage in evolution toward a kinder, gentler Instagram.
Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch that it’s an internal test the public can’t see–yet. In a statement, an Instagram spokesperson 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.”