Instagram users in Australia can no longer see how many ‘likes’ a post has a received under a trial designed to “remove pressure” on the digital platform’s users.
Instagram began rolling out the trial update on Thursday morning, removing the total number of likes on photos and viewings of videos on user feeds and profiles, and permalink pages.
Users can still see the number of likes on their own posts.
Nor does the change affect measurement tools for businesses and creators on Instagram, which is owned by social media giant Facebook. All likes and engagement metrics will still be available in those tools.
The trial expands on a similar change introduced in Canada in May. It will also be extended to New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Italy and Brazil.
Instagram said the trial was designed to encourage users to focus on the content they were sharing – not how many likes they get.
“Instagram is doing this as it doesn’t want the platform to feel like a competition,” it said in a statement.
Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy Mia Garlick said Instagram should be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves, rather than judged.
“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,” she said.
“We are now rolling the test out to Australia so we can learn more about how this can benefit people’s experiences on Instagram, and whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story.”
Australia was among the countries chosen for the trial because it has a fast-growing, engaged community of millions of people on Instagram and a tech-savvy audience.
A decision will be made at a later date on whether or not the update will be made permanent.
Instagram last week introduced two new features aimed at combating bullying on the platform.