American photo and video-sharing social networking service Instagram is now testing a feature that will hide likes. The feature, which was rumored for days, will bring a major change to the service.
On Thursday, the service announced that it is expanding its testing to hide like counts. The expansion will be for the rest of the world, meaning the option will be available in many countries starting on Thursday.
The feature was rumored for weeks before it started being tested in several countries, including Brazil and Canada. Just a few days ago, the service said the like counts for some users in the US would also be hidden.
The users that are included in the testing by the service will no longer see the number of likes they have on a post. The removal also includes the views on videos posted on the feed and profile. Users will be able to see how many likes their own posts got.
The hidden likes count is a major change for the service, which has offered the total of likes on posts for years. Likes and views have been the only options to let users know how much a post has been seen or liked.
Views are automatically counted by the service when a user looks at a video posted on the feed or profile. Likes can be given by a user if they press the heart on the bottom left of the post.
A spokesperson for Facebook, the company that owns the popular service, said that while the feedback from early testing has been positive, this is a fundamental change to the service and they are continuing their test to learn more from their global community.
The change doesn’t mean that likes are completely gone from the service. Users can still press the heart under a post and give a like. The only difference is that the like count available on the post will no longer be there.
The post will show the people that you follow and have liked. Users will also be able to see a list of all the people that have liked the post.
The change is big for social media influencers, who make a living from their posts. For years, they were able to show the hundreds or thousands of likes on their posts but things will soon be changing for the service.
CNN Business previously spoke to a Facebook spokesperson who said they understand the number of likes is an important metric for many creators, and while the test is in exploratory stages, they are currently thinking of ways for creators to communicate value to their partners.
The testing comes just weeks after the service made a significant change to its Following tab. The service previously featured a Following tab in which users could see all the likes and comments left by the people they followed. The option was completely removed from the service. There were also reports that the company asked at least one app to stop offering the feature.
It is currently unclear if the testing will lead to permanent hidden likes for Instagram but it appears that the company is seriously considering the idea.