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Why hidden 'likes' could help you spend more time on Instagram

Jennifer Shanker
Production Assistant

Instagram influencers beware. Your likes may be disappearing sooner than you think. A few months ago, Facebook-owned Instagram ( FB ) quietly began testing a design tweak in Canada that would no longer display the number of likes a photo receives (the owner of the account can still view those likes, though).

Now, the social media platform is expanding the test to Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and Brazil.

One social media guru is confident this test will soon roll out globally, and could be a new positive change for Instagram users. “Instagram has the biggest problem with its users reporting to feel miserable based on the amount of time they’ve spent on the platform,” said Steve Bartlett, CEO of The Social Chain Group, a social media marketing agency.

Facebook has dealt with its fair number of problems the past few years, from privacy concerns to research linking use of the social network to “compromised well-being .” Hiding likes could change the game for some users — and it could be good for Instagram, too.

“The number one reason why users don’t post more now is because every single time you post you’re being heavily judged by this metric on the quality of your post,” said Bartlett. “If that’s removed, then a lot of people won’t feel that pressure and they’ll post more and that’s good for the platform.”

KRAKOW, POLAND - 2018/09/12: In this photo illustration, the Instagram app is seen displayed on an Android mobile phone. (Photo Illustration by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

However, hiding likes could be a double-edged sword. “Because likes have been removed, there’s a high probability that that number you usually see every time you upload a selfie, which is usually 1,000, might just become 800 because of this change,” he said.

That means hiding likes could actually have a detrimental effect on users. “It’s a very complicated, interconnected platform. And only time will tell the impact it will have on our mental health and our well being,” Bartlett said.

Jennifer is a Production Assistant for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @shankerjennifer

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