Instagram, Facebook to allow hiding 'likes' worldwide after trialling system in New Zealand

Hiding like counts will also be rolled out to Facebook over the next few weeks.
Hiding like counts will also be rolled out to Facebook over the next few weeks Photo credit: Supplied

A new Instagram feature that was started in New Zealand in 2019 is rolling out to users around the rest of the world.

The Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform has announced everyone using it will have the ability to hide their public 'like' counts from today. Hiding like counts will also be rolled out over the next few weeks on Facebook itself.

The Instagram functionality was tested to see if it would remove some of the competitive nature of the app and if that would improve the experience of using it.

"After testing in a handful of countries, including New Zealand, today we are launching new options to hide like counts across our global community," said Mia Garlick, Head of Policy, Facebook Australia & New Zealand.

Feedback on the trial showed not displaying 'likes' was beneficial for some and annoying to others, particularly where people used the counts to get a sense for what's trending or popular, the company said.

In Aotearoa, Instagram 'likes' will remain switched off by default, with users given the option to turn them on in app's options and being made aware of the change via an in-app notification.

In countries where 'likes' haven't been previously hidden, the opposite is true.

"This is a step forward in giving people more control over their experience on Instagram and Facebook," Garlick told Newshub.

"It's important that people feel good about the time they spend on our apps, and these new controls allow them to create a more personalized and positive experience."

What users will be able to do on Instagram from today:

  • Hide like counts on all posts in your feed
  • Hide like counts on your own posts
  • Hide like counts on others' posts
  • Hide like counts before or after sharing a post