The time has come; Instagram will start their test of hiding ‘likes’ in the United States this week. For the past few months, Instagram has tested the hidden ‘likes’ feature in Australia, Canada, Ireland, and Japan. While those that have already experienced the change have shared mixed opinions, there’s no avoiding this potential new norm.

“Right now, we’re testing making like counts private, so you’ll be able to see how many people liked a given photo of yours or a video of yours, but no one else will”. 

According to reports, U.S Instagram users will have their chance to test this new feature starting this week. Instagram head Adam Mosseri stated that the test would not impact every user at once, but could eventually be worldwide. There’s no word on how long the test could last but we can estimate it to last at least a month. During the test, select users will not be able to see how many ‘likes’ other users receive but will be able to see how many users ‘like’ their own post.

In all, the pressure to hide ‘likes’ is in an attempt to protect users, specifically younger users. Mosseri said that by hiding ‘likes’, Instagram will become less of a competition and more about user interaction. ‘Liking’ posts has been a part of Instagram and various other social media sites since the very beginning; is this the right call?

While hiding ‘likes’ may depressurize users on the app, there is a downside. Wired noted: “that hiding engagement metrics will make it harder to determine whose follower count is legitimate.” As you may know, buying ‘followers’ and ‘likes’ is widely used on social media platforms. However, spotting accounts with fake followers can be as easy as checking how many ‘likes’ they receive on their posts.

If hidden ‘likes’ becomes a permanent update, will hidden ‘followers’ be next?