Instagram experimenting with hiding 'likes' for some users

After testing hiding 'likes' on Instagram in several countries, the company plans to hide the metric from some U.S. users next week.

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According to WIRED, Instagram's parent company, Facebook, is planning to remove the ability to like posts in an effort to make it 'the safest place on the internet." Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, told the magazine that some users can expect their like counts to no longer appear in public view.

"The idea is to try to depressurize Instagram, make it less of a competition, and give people more space to focus on connecting with the people they love and things that inspire them," Mosseri told the audience at the Wired25 conference.

People will still be able to see how many people liked their own photos, but won’t see counts for other people’s posts.

The test started in Canada and was rolled out to Australia, Brazil, Italy, Japan and New Zealand, according to The Verge.

Instagram is trying to combat criticism that the number of “likes” people’s posts receive could hurt mental health and make people feel bad when comparing themselves to others.

One group that may be affected is Instagram “influencers,” the major, minor or micro celebrities who use social media to market products and otherwise influence their hordes of followers. After all, if you post a photo and no one likes it, did you really post it?

Guy Avigdor, co-founder and chief operating officer of influencer marketing company Klear, said many marketers are also moving toward Story, Instagram’s disappearing video and photo feature.

“If anything, now is a time for the industry to adapt more adequate metrics for measuring influencer impact and reduce reliance on likes,” Avigdor said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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