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Washington: Instagram and Facebook users can now hide their like counts from both new and previously posted photos and videos.

As per The Verge, after years of testing on both platforms, Facebook and Instagram have settled on an opt-in experience for hiding like counts to allow people to disable seeing them across all posts and an option to hide their own public like counts from others.

Both social media platforms have been running tests for a while now to quantify how visible popularity impacts usage and the results seem to have had a positive outcome.

“We tested hiding like counts to see if it might depressurize people’s experience on Instagram,” said an Instagram spokesperson.

“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 for what’s trending or popular, so we’re giving you the choice,” the spokesperson added.

Users will now be able to toggle an option to hide all like counts on all posts in their feeds on both Instagram and Facebook. A separate option will let you hide your own like counts to others. You can also hide like counts on a per-post basis on Instagram, so there is a little more flexibility to allow people to focus on the content of posts rather than the like counts. Facebook will get these same per-post controls in the next few weeks.

“What one person wants from their Instagram experience is different from the next, and people’s needs are changing,” Instagram said.

The company added, “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.”

As per Mashable, Instagram has also collaborated with the Young Leaders for Active Citizenship (YLAC) in India to begin the fifth edition of the ‘Counter Speech Fellowship’.

It is a program that engages young adults and teens to use the power of visual storytelling to start meaningful conversations on pressing issues that are relevant to youth globally. This includes the themes of bullying, diversity, mental wellbeing and gender equality.

How to hide likes and video counts for a post?

For new posts, you can hide from the advanced settings:

Step 1: Once you’ve selected and edited your photo or video that you wish to post, head over to the ‘Advanced Settings’ section.

Step 2: Choose the ‘Hide Like and Video Counts on This Post’ option and you’re good to go. Now, once the photo or video you’ve posted goes live it will no longer any show public metrics for that media.

For existing photos and videos you have already shared, you can retroactively hide their metrics too. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Open the photo or video that you’ve already posted.

Step 2: Pick the “…” option from the top right corner of the post

Step 3: You’ll notice a new ‘Hide Like Count’ option there. Select that and you’re set.

Now, it is also possible to hide like counts for all posts on your timeline. For that:

Step 1: Head into the Settings.

Step 2: Head to Privacy > Posts.

Step 3: You’ll notice a new setting, ‘Hide Like and View Counts’. Selecting the toggle next to that will turn off the visibility for all users you follow in your timeline. That said, do note that other people may still choose to see those counts.

These changes won’t have a bearing on Reels or any other sections within Instagram or Facebook. They will still show like and view counts as they did earlier.

Instagram has enabled this feature after years of tests and pressure from experts to make changes to its platform.

The service was ranked as “the most detrimental to young people’s mental health and wellbeing” in a 2017 study by the Royal Society for Public Health UK. Experts have argued that removing a like button or like counts could help reduce anxiety and social pressures for some Facebook and Instagram users.

Facebook first started testing hidden like counts in September 2019 as an experiment to see if the change would improve the experience of using the platform.

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