Instagram and Facebook users will now be able to hide their public like counts, an unexpectedly flexible result to the experiment the social networks have been running into how visible popularity impacts usage. The new settings include not only the ability to remove like counts on your own posts, but prevent them from showing up in your timeline generally, too.
“We tested hiding like counts to see if it might depressurize people’s experience on Instagram,” the company explained today. “What we heard from people and experts was that not seeing like counts was beneficial for some, and annoying to others, particularly because people use like counts to get a sense for what’s trending or popular, so we’re giving you the choice.”
The experiment began some time ago, though got off to a rocky start. In 2019, Instagram first began hiding like counts for some users, with the test subsequently broadening. A wider-than-intended deployment earlier this year was subsequently rolled back, after Instagram inadvertently added the feature to a far larger number of users’ accounts than it had meant to. Later, it said it planned an official rollout.
With that general deployment happening now, it’s straightforward to use. For new posts, you can choose “Hide Like and Video Counts on This Post” from the advanced settings, after you’ve selected and edited your photo or video. That way, when it goes live it will never show public metrics for that media.
For existing photos and videos you’ve already shared, meanwhile, you can retroactively hide their performance. Hitting the “…” button brings up a new “Hide Like Count” option there.
To hide like counts in the timeline generally, you can head into the Settings. Going to Privacy > Posts shows a new setting, “Hide Like and View Counts”; hitting the toggle control next to that will turn off visibility for all users you follow in your timeline. Of course, other people may still select to see those counts.
It’s worth noting that the changes don’t impact Reels and other areas of Instagram and Facebook. They’ll still have like counts and view counts.
“What one person wants from their Instagram experience is different from the next, and people’s needs are changing,” Instagram said today. “We’ve been working closely with third-party experts to better understand how to empower people, build self-awareness and shape a more positive experience on Instagram.”
Meanwhile, other recent rumors have indicated that Instagram may finally be about to allow posting from the web. That would potentially enable people to share to the social network outside of the app, including from the desktop browser, a long-requested feature.