Instagram makes ‘likes’ disappear in even more countries

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Instagram may hide the "likes" count from your followers.
Photo: Iouri Goussey/Wikimedia CC

Instagram’s hidden “likes” experiment is expanding to six other countries as the photo-sharing app continues to change features to make social media a more positive experience.

Instagram made the announcement Wednesday on its Twitter feed, though it has yet to disclose findings from a trial of select users in Canada. It will now hide “likes” tallies on select posts in Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand.

“We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get,” Instagram wrote on Twitter with a picture of a person hidden behind a beach umbrella. “You can still see your own likes by tapping on the list of people who’ve liked it, but your friends will not be able to see how many likes your post has received.”

Users will be notified if they have been selected for the trial and will get an explanation similar to the above Twitter message.

Instagram likes part of a bigger change

Instagram will go down in history for transforming the way the world shares photos instantly. More than 1 billion people use Instagram each month and post an average of 95 million photos per day.

But it is not always joyful. Instagram, like Twitter and its parent company Facebook, has struggled to protect vulnerable users from social pressure, harassment, false information and hate speech.

Over the last year, Instagram has been the most aggressive social media platform to retool its features to create a friendlier space.

Earlier this month, Instagram announced a new artificial intelligence feature will flag negative posts and give the sender a chance to reconsider questionable content. Early tests revealed that a notification warning made some users undo their initial comment.

It also added a “Restrict” feature that allows victims to hide the comments of identified harassers without their knowing.