The ominous episode "Nosedive" of the thriller anthology series Black Mirror painted a terrifying picture of a future whereby a person's value as a human is solely based on their social media rating and "likes." Don't get enough likes, or worse, get dislikes, and your social status nosedives, leading to everything from job losses to mortgage denials and even not being served at your favorite coffee shop. While we haven't quite reached such a scary level of dependence on social media, the focus on "likes" to determine popularity has been growing, and it can boost (or damage) personal or professional self-esteem. If you'd rather steer clear of placing so much emphasis on how many people tap that heart emoji on your posts, or the posts of others, you can now hide your Instagram like counts if you so desire.
What is the new feature all about?
The new feature hides from view how many likes your posts get, and/or hides how many likes posts from other people in your feed have received.
Instagram has been testing this feature for the past few years, stating that the purpose is to allow its users to "focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get."
Beyond helping Instagram users push back against issues of self-consciousness, the move can also help individuals and brands avoid relying too heavily on likes to measure post engagement. Instead of focusing on using the right hashtags, uploading only perfectly filtered photos, and generally just trying to keep up with the social Joneses, Instagram users can simply post for the love of sharing.
What you need to know about the feature
Hiding Instagram like counts is entirely opt-in. Given that many people rely on social media influencing as their primary job, and thus require these tangible details about post engagement, it's important that those who want to continue to see the data still can. This means it's totally up to you to decide if you want to turn likes on or off.
Also, keep in mind that even if you decide to hide the like count view on your own posts, others will still see the total number of likes unless they do the same. Also, the like count view settings have to be adjusted for personal posts individually. So, if you want to remove like views from older posts, you'll have to go back and change the settings for them one by one. It doesn't appear as though you can hide likes from only certain people or brands you follow - it's all or nothing.
If you do decide you want to hide Instagram likes either for some of your own posts or all posts in your news feed, here's how to do it.
How to hide your Instagram like count
- Open the Instagram app on your phone
- Select your profile icon on the bottom, right
- Select one of your posts
- Tap the three dots in the top, right corner
- Select Hide Like Count
- Now, instead of seeing "Liked by 'name' and 'X' others," you'll only see "Liked by 'name' and others" without the total number
How to hide the Instagram like count on posts in your feed
- Open the Instagram app on your phone
- Click the profile icon on the bottom, right
- Tap the three horizontal lines in the top, right corner
- Select Settings at the bottom, center of the screen
- Select Privacy
- Select Posts
- Swipe to the right under Likes and Views: Hide Like and View Counts to activate this feature
- Instead of now seeing the total number of likes for posts, you will see "View Likes" or, if someone you follow liked the post, you might see "Liked by 'name' and others"
Be in more control of your Instagram
It can be satisfying to see a stream of Likes on that post of your pet, fancy meal, or amazing vacation selfie that you've snapped using one of the best Android camera phones. But conversely, it can also be disheartening to see other posts receiving so many more likes than yours.
Of course, feeling self-conscious isn't the only reason to hide your Instagram like count. Some people simply don't want to buy into the idea that likes equate to engagement, or find that a high number of likes (or lack of likes) can be misleading or create unfair subconscious biases.
Thankfully, hiding Instagram like counts is pretty easy to accomplish. Clean up your feed so you can focus on the content of each posts, and even the comments, versus the seemingly insignificant rising number of likes. Meanwhile, if you want to focus more on your posts and less on follower response to them, pick and choose which items you want to see more granular data on and which ones you aren't so concerned about.
Share your photos, videos, stories, and more
Share your favorite photos, videos, and story reels with friends, family, and contacts on Instagram, and focus on other forms of engagement beyond likes by hiding both your own Instagram like counts as well as likes on other posts in your feed.
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Christine Persaud has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's working on her latest fitness program, binging a new TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets she's reviewing, or spending time with family and friends. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.