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Instagram's experiment with hiding 'like' counts is expanding to the US

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Instagram's ongoing experiment to see whether hiding 'like' counts on posts will improve the user experience is now expanding to the US – a "small portion" of people should find these metrics hidden from view.

As TechCrunch reports, the expansion was announced at the Wired25 conference. The tweak has already been tested in Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.

While posts can still rack up 'likes' as normal, only the creator of the post is able to view them – no one else can see whether a particular post has received a lot of love or hardly any at all.

The idea is to make the social network a less pressurized and competitive environment, Instagram says, although in regions where the experiment has already started, 'like' counts have dropped by several percentage points.

To like or not to like

"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," said Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri.

"We have to see how it affects how people feel about the platform, how it affects how they use the platform, how it affects the creator ecosystem."

Mosseri went on to tweet that he is looking forward to getting feedback from users as the change rolls out to a select number of accounts in the coming days – and Instagram influencers might have one or two points to make.

While Mosseri says user well-being and health is more important than Instagram's bottom line, if people who make their living from Instagram start to see 'like' counts dropping, that might force a rethink.

David Nield

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. On TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables.