Instagram hides likes from more users

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The goal, she adds, is that users feel less judged and to see "whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story".

"We know that people come to Instagram to express themselves and to be creative and follow their passions".

The trial first began in Canada in May and is now rolling out to six other countries: Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Ireland, Italy and Japan.

The new rules are meant to remove people's fear they will seem unpopular if they don't receive as many likes as they think they should, and it certainly seems like a step in the right direction.

The platform is also exploring ways to enable users to control how certain people interact with them without having to block them completely. "During this test, only the person who shares a post will see the total number of likes it gets".

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Suzie Shaw, MD at We Are Social, says hiding the number of likes will create an environment where "self-expression, human connections and genuine engagement" is valued more than the "ephemeral reward" of likes.

Studies have linked social media platforms to affecting mental health, especially of young people.

"Instead, every post in your feed just looks like this, letting you know it was liked by "[username] and others". With more test regions and accounts participating in the experiment, Instagram may have enough data to show in the future.

But while these measures largely have been welcomed by users, it is unclear how they will impact the millions of businesses that use Instagram to share new products and offerings with consumers.

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