Instagram Is Hiding Likes. Will That Reduce Anxiety?

What would Instagram be like if people couldn’t see how many likes fellow users’ posts receive?

Less competitive, less pressurized and more personal, Instagram surmises.

The social media platform, which began testing that theory in May in Canada, this week expanded the experiment to include Instagram users in six more countries. As part of the test, users in Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand will no longer be able to see the counts of likes and video views on other users’ posts.

They will still be able to see who liked someone else’s post or viewed their video, but there won’t be a tally. Of course, people can still do a manual count, if they want to take the time. And users will still be able to see like counts and video view counts for their own posts.

[Read more: What if Instagram Got Rid of Likes?]

“We are expanding the test to get a better sense of how the experience resonates with Instagram’s global community,” Seine Kim, a Facebook spokeswoman, said Thursday. Facebook bought Instagram in 2012.

Instagram did not share any information about what the testing with users in Canada has shown, nor would it say how long the testing will take place in each country. It is also not clear how the company is measuring the test results.

In late April, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, announced at Facebook’s annual event for developers that the testing would begin in Canada.

“We don’t want Instagram to feel like a competition,” Mr. Mosseri said at the event. “We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people they care about.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Mosseri announced the test’s expansion to the six additional countries on Twitter.

The reaction to Instagram’s expanded testing has been mixed. Some, like the singer Troye Sivan, supported the change.

Mr. Sivan, an Australia-based performer with more than 10 million Instagram followers, said Thursday on Twitter that he was “happy that young people aren’t going to base their self worth/the worth of content they love from a number on a screen.”

Rozanna Purcell, a model in Ireland with nearly 300,000 Instagram followers, also welcomed the change.

“I get so many messages of young girls in school who say how down they are and feel like they’re not good enough because their peers get more likes than them,” Ms. Purcell said. “We have enough things in society to compare ourselves to, so getting rid of numbers can only be a good thing.”

But not everybody is excited about hiding like counts.

Adam Liaw, a chef and author in Australia with more than 100,000 Instagram followers, said on Twitter that he thought the change was a “huge mistake” that would ultimately lead to the death of Instagram.

“Also, I think this move is Facebook is trying to de-influence influencers,” Mr. Liaw said on Twitter. “They’re seeing millions/billions of advertising dollars that they want funneled into paid promotion going direct to users outside their ecosystem.”

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