Facebook and Instagram can now allow users to hide like counts on their own posts as well as others posts that appear in their feeds; this feature was announced on the 26th of May 2021 and has started rolling out worldwide.
Users will now have a bit more control over when they see “Like” counts, but the new features do not represent a major change in how these social networks actually work.
Instead, Facebook and Instagram are pushing the decision over how “Likes” are handled to users themselves.
This is another example of how Facebook tends to deflect responsibility for its platforms’ worst impulses and impacts onto users while making promises of more “choice.”
On Instagram, this means that users will now be able to go into the app’s settings and turn off “Like” counts on other peoples’ posts.
To do this in the app, go to Settings —> Posts, where you’ll see a toggle that, when switched on, hides the “Like” counts viewable on posts from other people that show up in your feed.
The default setting is that “Likes” are visible, so again, users will have to go into the app and proactively change the setting if they want to discontinue seeing “Likes.”.
In addition, Users can also ensure that other people can’t see the total number of “Likes” on their own posts. But that’s a little bit harder to do: It doesn’t appear that users can hide “Likes” on all their posts by default.
Instead, they have to decide whether “Likes” should be visible for every single post and proactively turn them off.