Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, announced on Wednesday that some users in seven countries will not be able to see the number of likes that other users’ pictures have received or the number of times that other people’s videos have been viewed.
Users will still be able to see the number of likes and views their own posts have received.
We’re currently running a test that hides the total number of likes and video views for some people in the following countries:
✅ New Zealand pic.twitter.com/2OdzpIUBka
— Instagram (@instagram) July 17, 2019
The company tweeted that they were “looking forward to learning more about how this change might benefit everyone’s experience on Instagram.”
A spokesperson for Instagram told TIME that they were testing out the change because “we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”
The reaction online was mixed with many people replying to the company saying that “no one wanted this” change.
Literally no one asked for this! Get rid of it and put our posts back into chronological order
— Alicia (@DiddlyDonger) July 18, 2019
— ash ⚢ (@ashturnxr) July 18, 2019
Others, however, including pop star Troye Sivan, reacted positively to the news.
Bout to post w no thought or consequence like it’s 2013 go crazy go stupid ahhhhhh
— troye (@troyesivan) July 18, 2019
Instagram told TIME that they first implemented the test with users in Canada last May. “We’re expanding the test to a number of countries to get a better sense of how the experience resonates with Instagram’s global community.”
Studies have shown that receiving smart phone notifications, such as the likes Instagram users see, sends a rush of the chemical dopamine to the brain. This phenomenon makes social media addictive and effects the brain in a manner similar to gambling. Social media has been linked to mental health issues among young people. A 2017 study by the Royal Society for Public Health, in the U.K., described Instagram as being the social media platform that was the most detrimental to young people’s mental health.
This news comes in the wake of Instagram introducing a slew of new tools and policies to prevent bullying on the app. The website introduced a tool called Restrict which allows users to better control how others contact them and interact with their accounts. Instagram also announced on Thursday that it will now alert users when their accounts are at risk of being disabled.
— Instagram (@instagram) July 18, 2019