Instagram trials hiding ‘likes’ to stop platform feeling ‘like a competition’

Instagram Credit: PA

Instagram has begun hiding likes and video views as part of a trial aimed at removing “pressure” on users and shifting the focus instead to “sharing the things” people enjoy.

The social media giant said the trial for some users in countries including Ireland, Italy and Australia was aimed at stopping the platform from feeling “like a competition”.

The change applies to the Instagram’s Feed, Permalink and Profile functions.

“We want Instagram to be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves,” said Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand’s director of policy.

“We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love.”

Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand’s director of policy, said Instagram wants users to feel comfortable. Credit: Instagram/PA

The trial began in Canada in May and has also been rolled out to Brazil, Japan and New Zealand.

It shows those on the social media platform a user name “and others” below posts, rather than the number of likes on their feed.

It does allow users to see how many likes they have received on their own posts.

The changes will apply to Instagram’s Feed, Permalink and Profile functions. Credit: PA

Measurement tools for businesses will not be affected by the trial, Instagram’s spokesperson said.

Last week the company unveiled an anti-bullying initiative following high-profile cases such as the death of British teenager Molly Russell.

The social media site has started rolling out a new feature which notifies people before they post that their comment may be considered offensive.

Users can also be "restricted", meaning comments on an individual's posts from the restricted user will only be visible to that person.

People can choose to make a restricted person’s comments visible to others by approving their comments.

Restricted people won’t be able to see when that person is active on Instagram or when they've read their direct messages.