Some may have noticed that Instagram has been testing hiding “like” counts for a while (in some countries). Today they are announcing that all users will have the option to hide their public “like” counts, so users can decide what’s best for them.
Not seeing these counts was beneficial to some and annoying to others, especially since people use “like” counts to get an idea of what is trending or popular.
They have also announced that there is an option to hide them on your own posts, so that others can’t see how many “Likes” your posts are getting. This way, people can focus on the photos and videos being shared, rather than the number of “likes” they get.
Users can also choose to hide the number of “likes” before sharing a post. People can easily toggle this option on or off, even after posting. In the coming weeks we will see both of these controls coming to Facebook.
Businesses could find it useful to be able to hide ‘likes’ publicly, at least in the first few hours of their posts, when they have a number they are not happy with at the moment. If a user catches sight of the advertisement or company post too early and doesn’t have many likes, they may misinterpret it as meaning your content is no good. It’s a digital and much poorer version of word-of-mouth recommendation about a brand or product, so it will hopefully bring benefits to brands to hide the few likes, especially when the post is very recently published.
This option can also be reversed at any time, so when the post reaches several digits of likes, the business, influencer or user could show the amount without any problem.
Changing the way people view “like” counts is a big change. We’ll see how the community reacts and the brands that use instagram day in and day out to connect with their audience.