Instagram conceals likes count in an international trial

The Facebook-owned company announced on Wednesday it’s expanding its test to publicly hides likes into more countries, including Australia.

The company began testing this in Canada during May in a move to help reduce the pressure to rack up likes on the platform. Likes, which appear as hearts on Instagram, are often used as a measure of popularity. The test removes the total number of publicly visible likes on photos and videos, however the owner of the account will still be able to see them. Likes will not appear on a persons main feed, profiles or permalink pages.

“We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get,” an Instagram spokesperson said.

Sadly within the DJ industry there has been an ever increasing trend where promoters and venues often look at the amount of likes and followers an artist has, rather than their skill and tslent, and the amount of likes they get on Instagram can mean the difference between getting a gig or not.

For some Instagram users, not getting enough likes can even impact their self-esteem. According to a recent report by the Royal Society for Public Health in the United Kingdom, Instagram is the most detrimental social networking app for young people’s mental health. But hiding likes is not a cure-all solution. The test doesn’t address or fix some of the other factors that can impact the well-being of users on Instagram, including bullying, feeling left out or thinking other people’s lives are better than their own.

“The biggest impact of Instagram is the content,” said Renee Engeln, a psychology professor at Northwestern University. “The exposure to this constant stream of perfected images is what seems to hurt psychologically.”

Instagram also made recent moves to address bullying on the platform. Earlier this month, it announced a new tool that uses artificial intelligence to tell users when a comment could be considered offensive before it’s posted.In addition, Instagram is adding a “Restrict” mode aimed at combating bullies. When you restrict another user, comments on your posts from that person are only visible to them, and not other people. Restricted users also won’t be able to see if that person is active on Instagram or if they’ve read their direct messages.

(Article first appeared on CNN)