Instagram is now allowing its users to hide like counts in an effort to “depressurise” users' experience on the platform.
The move comes after concerns have previously been raised about the negative impact of social media platforms on mental health, especially among young people.
The new feature offers users the choice to hide both the like counts of other people’s posts that appear in their feed, as well as the count on their own posts.
“The intent, or the hope, was to depressurise Instagram a little bit,” said Instagram boss, Adam Mosseri.
“To allow them (users) to focus more on connecting with friends or being inspired rather than how many likes they or other people get.”
Mosseri stressed the importance of giving Instagram users a choice as to how they want to interact with the platform.
He added: “I think the more we can give people the ability to shape Instagram and Facebook into what’s good for them, the better.
“We wanted to make sure that you could go back and forth because actually, I think that might be a way that a lot of people use it – maybe you are a teen and you’re having a difficult time going through a break-up or you just switched schools and maybe you want to be a little less worried about how many likes everyone is getting for a couple of weeks.”
Instagram – which is owned by Facebook – has already included several safety-related changes in recent months.
This includes the option for users to restrict the access certain accounts have to their profile in a bid to tackle online bullying.
But Mosseri acknowledged that it was impossible to prevent all harmful incidents from happening on the platform.
“Bad things happen on Instagram, we know this,” he said.
“With a billion people, you’re going to get the good, the bad and the ugly of humanity, and I’m sure for some people using Instagram is not helpful and can be problematic in all sorts of ways.
“So, it’s our responsibility to magnify the good and reduce the bad as much as we can.”
Instagram removed the like count for Australian users a couple of years ago as a trial before being rolled out globally.
Some influencers have decided to hide their number of likes including Australian influencer Tammy Hembrow and French influencer Sundy Jules.
Written by Hedi Mehrez
News reporter for Talking Mental Health