Instagram will begin hiding likes for some users in the United States starting next week, CEO Adam Mosseri announced on Friday.
Mosseri made the announcement at WIRED25, a two-day festival in San Francisco which “focuses on experiences and conversations about the future and the use of tech for good,” according to its website. The CEO told WIRED that the Facebook-owned company is making the move in an attempt to make it a safer place on the Internet and focused on helping young people.
“It’s about young people,” he said. “The idea is to depressurize Instagram, make it less of a competition, give people more space to focus on connecting with people that they love, things that inspire them, but it’s really focused about young people.”
According to WIRED the company has been testing hiding “like” counts in other countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Italy, and Brazil. Mosseri said that they will be expanding those tests to “include a small portion of people” in the U.S.
Those who will be included in the test won’t see like counts for other users post but will still be able to see the likes for their own photos and videos. Affected users will receive a notification that they’re part of the test.
According to the outlet, social media researchers have argued that when users “tailor their content to whatever garners the most engagement (or outrage)” the result is a “radicalized environment that makes healthy, happy conversations almost impossible.”
Mosseri was joined by actress Tracee Ellis Ross at WIRED25 where they spoke about the importance for social media platforms to take responsibility for the security and well-being of the people who use them.
When Ross was asked by Mosseri if she was "alright with [the change]," during the Ask Me Anything segment, she replied, "I am, I think it's a good idea."