LOS ANGELES - Facebook and Instagram have been testing a feature that hides like counts, and today the company announced that every user will have access to the option starting immediately.
"We tested hiding like counts to see if it might depressurize people’s experience on Instagram," the company wrote in a press release Wednesday. "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 of what’s trending or popular, so we’re giving you the choice."
The company explained that the social media outlets were looking for more ways to give people control over their experience.
"You’ll also have the option to hide like counts on your own posts, so others can’t see how many likes your posts get. This way, if you like, you can focus on the photos and videos being shared, instead of how many likes posts get," the company continued.
Users can hide like counts on others’ posts by visiting the new Posts section in Settings. This control applies to all the posts in a user’s feed. In addition, people can also choose to hide like counts before sharing a post. The setting can be turned on or off, even after it goes live.
"People want more flexibility, so we thought it would be important to give people the option. In the next few weeks you will see both of these controls come to Facebook," the company wrote. "What one person wants from their Instagram experience is different from the next, and people’s needs are changing. We’ve been working closely with third-party experts to better understand how to empower people, build self-awareness and shape a more positive experience on Instagram."
The company said it is also funding more external research and proposals from global academics and non-profits about people’s experiences on Instagram, so it can improve its policies and products to support the community.
"Changing the way people view like counts is a big shift. We’ll continue working on new ways to give people more choice, so they feel good about the time they spend on our apps," the company stated.