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Instagram has started hiding likes in Malaysia, but why?

Instagram has been testing out a new feature of sorts in 7 countries—one that hides the likes a post receives—to a generally mixed reception among users. But the company is now expanding the trial to certain accounts globally, although we aren’t sure how Instagram is selecting these users.

According to a Tweet on their official Twitter account, Instagram explains that users who are a part of the test won’t be able to see likes on posts from other users on their feed. However, you’ll still be able to see the amount of likes that your own posts have garnered—which should offer some respite to entities like social media influencers and social media marketers alike.

The feature appears to be available on Android and iOS devices, and if you’re a part of the test group, you won’t be able to see likes on any of your devices that are logged into the affected account. At the time of writing, only one of us in the office is a part of the test group, which shows that the Malaysian region is also a part of the trial.

Pushing the new update to select Instagram users in the global community means that we are one step closer to a world where likes for posts on your Instagram posts aren’t publicly displayed. But Instagram will still show “likes”, although it won’t be an exact number anymore—instead, you’ll see “thousands” or “millions” of likes instead.

In a world where the value of content is measured by metrics like “likes” or “engagement”, I’d have to say that the idea behind Instagram’s move seems to be an encouraging one—at least from a social standpoint. According to a statement by Instagram, reported by inews:

“We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.” 

But if you look at the last Tweet above, the wording appears to suggest that Instagram will be coming up with an advertising solution in the future. The move to hide likes, of course, has the potential to give Instagram more leverage over revenue that social media influencers earn on the platform.

We are actively thinking through ways for creators to communicate value to their partners.

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