Instagram users were surprised to find that like counts had gone missing from the platform on Tuesday. The company has been testing removing likes for years, and this time, it accidentally released the test to the public.
“We unintentionally added more people to the test today, which was a bug-we’re fixing this issue and restoring like counts to those people as soon as possible,” a spokesperson for Instagram told CNN.
The change is something that Instagram has been working on for some time. Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced in 2019 that the platform would hide “like counts” on posts within a week. He also mentioned that the platform was working to roll out additional measures to improve the mental and emotional health of users.
“We will make decisions that hurt the business if they help people’s wellbeing and health,” Mosseri expressed.
Instagram was already testing out hiding likes in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand, which began in July 2019.
In April 2019, researcher Jane Manchun Wong shared a screenshot that showed the internal development of Instagram. As shown in the image, only the uploader gets to see the number of likes the post garnered. Other Instagram users can only see the handle of an account owner who has liked the post, followed by “and others.”
With the removal of likes, people might stop constantly comparing themselves with Instagrammers who carefully curate their feeds. This, in turn, could create a less stressful environment where people can feel comfortable with expressing themselves.
As soon as the bug hit, many took to Twitter to express their disappointment, while others cheered on with the assumption that the platform has finally removed likes. “I’m about to cry. Why did Instagram take away my ability to see the number of likes any post has gotten? Time to delete the app,” a Twitter user said.
“So Instagram got rid of likes and I honestly feel like that the most mentally progressive thing they’ve done all year,” another said.
This issue has now been fixed. Pull down to refresh your feed and your likes should restore – thanks for your patience!
— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) March 3, 2021
I’m about to cry. Why did Instagram take away my ability to see the number of likes any post has gotten?!?! Time to delete the app.
— Nerissarianna 🧚🏾♀️✨ (@nerissarianna) March 3, 2021
So instagram took away likes destroying the popularity contest aspect… i love it 🤷🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/VdbiWnfvSg
So Instagram got rid of likes and I honestly feel like that’s the most mentally progressive thing they’ve done all year
— Demi Grace (@IamDemiGrace) March 3, 2021
Ppl gettin mad about not seeing the number of likes they receive on ig bcuz they use that as some sort of validation currency shows is how deeply twisted and vain we are. Did Instagram reveal how we are reliant on social media for our sense of worth and self esteem? Yes it did.
— Mani Phantom (@Sleezies) March 3, 2021