Instagram has been trialing a hidden likes feature for several months now, with tests beginning in Canada in May. Though Instagram hasn’t announced exactly how it’s progressing, yesterday, the company revealed it was extending the trial to six more countries: Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand.
The move hides ‘like’ counts on selected accounts so their followers are unable to see how many likes an image or video has. There’s no way to opt in or out of this trial — if Instagram selects your account, it looks like it’s going to be affected for as long as the test lasts.
Instagram says it’s trialing this feature to try and remove the “pressure” of posting content for likes, putting user focus back on the images themselves rather than their perceived popularity. Recently, Instagram has also taken measures to try and combat bullying on the platform. Some recent studies have linked Instagram to mental health issues; the company clearly wants to combat some of the negative aspects of the platform.
However, the move has — predictably — faced some backlash. Likes and Followers are the currency of Instagram and some users rely on the public “Likes” display for business purposes. So, for those of you who follow any accounts affected by this — and still want to see how many likes their posts are getting — we’ve found a workaround.
How to see hidden likes on Instagram
The solution is deceptively simple and doesn’t require any additional downloads or software, just access to a web browser. Instead of viewing a post with hidden likes in the Instagram app, simply:
- Head to Instagram.com in a browser.
- Log in.
- Visit the posts with where the like counts were previously hidden and you should now be able to see them.
Instagram via the dedicated app (left). The Instagram website accessed via web browser (right).
We’ve had success with this method in Australia and I suspect it will apply to the other regions included in the trial too. There may be other alternatives — we tried using a VPN to get around the restrictions but were unsuccessful — so if you have any tips, feel free to pop them in the comments.