The tool, which was announced back in 2019 and has been tested in several countries since, is now available for every Instagram and Facebook user to use.
It allows you to hide both the like counts of other people’s posts that appear in your feed and those you post to your account.
This means that, while you’ll still get in-app notifications when someone has ‘liked’ your post (that is, if you haven’t switched them off, too), you won’t see a cumulative number underneath your post when you look at it. Instead, you’ll see the username of one person who has liked the post “and others”, instead of a total number.
If you choose to turn off likes on your posts, other people won’t be able to see how many likes you get, either.
In a release announcing the change, Instagram said the move was designed to help “depressurize” people’s experiences on the app.
“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,” it read.
Sharing the news on Twitter, Instagram boss Adam Mosseri said the move allowed users to manage their experience “in a way that works for you”.
“We want you to feel good about the time you spend on our apps and this is a way to give you more control over your experience,” he added.
While some may not feel the need to change how they view likes on their feed, if you find it hard to ignore the pressure of likes while using Instagram, this could be a quick and easy way to alleviate some of that pressure and make using the app better for your mental health.
Of course, hiding like counts isn’t going to alleviate all of the other pressures associated with Instagram (such as comparison culture), but it certainly seems like a step in the right direction towards making social media a less competitive place.
How to hide like counts on Instagram and Facebook
The feature is currently rolling out across accounts on both Instagram and Facebook, so if you can’t see this option available to you just yet, it should be there soon.
There are two ways to access the like hiding tool – one for the likes on your feed, and one for the likes on your posts.
To turn off the likes on other people’s posts on your feed, you can navigate to your account settings, where there’ll be a new ‘Posts’ section. From there, you can use the sliding button to switch on the ‘Hide Like and View Counts’ option.
To turn off the likes on your posts, you’ll get the option to switch them off when you post a picture. You can also do this once you’ve posted a picture, by clicking on the three dots at the top of a post and choosing ‘Hide Like Count’.