(Pocket-lint) – Would you enjoy Instagram more if it didn’t show everyone how few ‘likes’ your last post received? Well, users suddenly began noticing on Tuesday that posts in their feed had no like counts.
And it was apparently all a mistake.
Although Instagram announced in 2019 it planned to test a design change that would no longer show the total number of “likes” on users’ posts, the new feature, if that’s what you’d call it, never fully rolled out. That is until 3 March 2021 – when many Instagram users in the US started seeing a notification in the app saying they wouldn’t see like counts on posts anymore.
Instagram later revealed, however, that the message was a bug, explaining in a tweet that it “unintentionally” added more people to the test. So if you received the notification and spotted the change, it should go back to normal soon.
We’ve been testing a new experience to hide likes on Feed posts. We unintentionally added more people to the test today, which was a bug — we’re fixing this issue and restoring like counts to those people as soon as possible.
— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) March 3, 2021
Keep in mind, when Facebook-owned Instagram first revealed during its F8 2019 conference that it was starting this test, which removes the total number of likes on photos and video views in Instagram’s news feed, permalink pages, and profiles, the company said it was doing so because it wanted users to “focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get”.
Facebook also discussed at length how the Instagram team wants to do better at curbing harassment. It was implied that the test would hopefully go a long way at making Instagram less toxic for many users who’ve been bullied on the platform. Given that the test was widely rolled out by accident in 2021, one can’t help but wonder if it will soon be turned on for everyone.
So Instagram …did not mean to hide likes for everyone https://t.co/Z9Yy9R6XBM
— Instagram (@instagram) March 3, 2021
We’ve contacted the company for a comment, of course, and will report back as soon as we know more.
Writing by Maggie Tillman.