Instagram Will Start Testing Hidden Likes in the U.S.

UPDATE (November 9, 2019): In April 2019, rumors started swirling that Instagram may soon make like counts on posts invisible to everyone but the person who posted it. The gossip was propelled — and supported — by leaked prototype screenshots indicating the app’s possible plans. Then, in the months that followed, Instagram started making good on its purported plans by testing hidden likes in Canada, Japan, Australia, and several other countries. And now, according to Instagram head Adam Mosseri, likes are about to start disappearing from U.S. feeds.

On Friday, November 8, Mosseri announced at Wired25, a tech summit hosted by Wired magazine in San Francisco, that Instagram will begin rolling out a test of hidden likes on a limited number of American accounts. “So right now we’re testing making like counts private,” he said while seated onstage between Tracee Ellis Ross and Wired‘s Arielle Pardes, explaining that the testing would start in the U.S. “next week.” Although he didn’t give many details about how many people will initially be affected, he looked out at the audience and said, “There’s a couple hundred people in here, so yeah, definitely a couple of you are going to have private likes, I hope.”

Mosseri seemed aware of the mixed feelings over this potentially major shift in how Instagram looks and works, but he explained why it’s a personal priority for him. “It’s about young people. The idea is to try and depressurize Instagram, make it less of a competition, and give people more space to focus on connecting with people that they love, things that inspire them. But it’s really focused on young people,” he said. “We have to see how it affects how people feel about the platform, how it affects how they use the platform, how it affects the creator ecosystem. But I’ve been spending a lot of time on this personally.”

This post originally appeared on April 26, 2019:

Over the past week, you may have heard (or seen for yourself) Instagram’s latest leaked design prototype. You know, the one where like counts will no longer be visible to anyone but the poster. Or, put bluntly, the one that’s making just about every user lose their ish. While a billion people use Instagram each and every month, few are as adept to the app as the influencer set. So it goes without saying then that they have some thoughts on the latest purposed change.

Before getting into their ideas on the matter, let’s talk about why this change is even a possibility in the first place. Jane Manchun Wong, one of TechCrunch’s lead tipsters, discovered the prototype in Instagram’s Android code, which she dutifully took screenshots of to share with the world.

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