Facebook and Instagram are (again) disappearing likes: here’s how it works

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Since 2019, Instagram has been experimenting with hiding likes on posts. So far this has been a failure. But the social network has not given up on its idea: it is now testing a new method. And Facebook will also give it a try.

In its previous attempts, Instagram had decided to hide likes altogether under the posts of certain users. An experiment that had not received a very good reception, especially on the side of influencers, who need likes to prove to brands that it is necessary to bet on them.

According to Techcrunch, Instagram has been testing a new system since Wednesday, with some users around the world. They have several choices available to them. They can either hide likes under other users’ posts or continue to see them. In addition, they have the opportunity to decide whether or not to hide the likes under each of their own posts.

Slow down the popularity race

By leaving the choice to its users, Instagram hopes to have found the winning compromise. Influencers will no longer have to complain (they can even hide likes from the general public and keep them to themselves via analytics) and average users who are fed up with this popularity race will be able to get rid of it. In any case, it is for this reason that Instagram says it has been thinking about hiding likes for several years. The social network says it wants to make its platform healthier, preventing its most sensitive users – especially teenagers – from taking a morale blow by seeing that they are not as popular as they hope.

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In its first attempts, Instagram also noticed that hiding likes led to a decrease in the pack effect. This phenomenon means that the more likes we see on a post, the more we tend to like it ourselves. Conversely, if we see almost no ‘likes’ on a publication, we will not like it either. Consequence: very popular posts become even more popular, and the least liked are pushed a little further into the shadows.

Facebook – which owns Instragam – will also participate in the experiment. The trials will start a little later, in a few weeks. The system should be the same as on Instagram, with the choice left to the users. Again, only a handful of people will be affected, at least initially.

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