Instagram announces test on new likes policy

After speculations, Instagram has confirmed it’s now running tests on a new policy on posts likes and video views.

Following criticism on the pressure it causes on users’ mental health, with particular focus on young people, the social platform has started running a test in certain countries that hides the number of likes and video views on profiles. The test is currently being run in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand.

With the aim of easing the effects of Instagram on its users, the new policy acts by hiding the number of likes and video views from followers, which will still be visible to the account owner and the account owner only. Mia Garlick, Australia and New Zealand’s head of policy, commented: “We want Instagram to be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves and we hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love.”

Although currently a “test”, Instagram still hasn’t given a deadline for when it could possibly end. An Instagram spokesperson added: “We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get. We don’t want Instagram to feel like a competition.”

 A recent UK study by The Royal Society for Public Health, along with the Young Health Movement, found that out of all social media platforms, Instagram was by far the most detrimental to youngsters’ mental health, followed by Snapchat. The new likes policy follows a set of new implementations that look at preventing online bullying in an attempt to safeguard young users’ mental health. The new measures use artificial intelligence to recognise words and sentences that could be offensive and send a notification to users that states “Are you sure you want to post this?”.