Popular social media platform Instagram has everyone talking after the CEO announced the company’s rollout of removing likes in the US on Friday.
“Heads up! We’ve been testing making likes private on Instagram in a number of countries this year,” Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, said in a statement Friday. “We’re expanding those tests to include a small portion of people in the US next week. Looking forward to the feedback!”
While speaking at the Wired 25 event Friday, Mosseri said by removing likes, it would help decrease cyberbullying among young people. He’s hoping by users not being able to view how many likes a posts receives, it will also remove the unnecessary competition that comes with having likes.
“It’s about young people,” he said at the conference. “The idea is to try depressurizing Instagram, make it less of a competition and give people more space to focus on connecting with people that they love, things that inspire them.”
While users will still be able to see who and how many people liked their post, but that information would no longer visible for the public on both photos and videos on the app. The decision roll out the removal of likes in the US comes after Instagram tested the program out in seven countries, including Japan, Brazil and Canada, among others.
During the US rollout, the company will evaluate user feedback and how businesses will use Instagram. Mosseri said the company will do what’s best for users.
“We have to see how people feel about the platform, how it affects how they use the platform, how it affects the creator ecosystem,” Mosseri said, adding, “We will make decisions that hurt the business if they are good for people’s well-being and health because it has to be good for the business in the long-run.”
The removal of likes comes one month after Instagram removed its “following” activity tab. The feature that allowed users to see which posts the people they followed liked and commented on. Vishal Shah, Instagram’s VP of product, told BuzzFeed last month October that the feature was removed due to its unpopularity among users.
“People didn’t always know that their activity is surfacing,” Shah said. “So you have a case where it’s not serving the use case you built if for, but it’s also causing people to be surprised when their activity is showing up.”
Instagram currently has over 1 billion monthly active users and more than 500 million daily story active users.