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Instagram has announced that for users in seven countries, the number of likes displayed under their posts will no longer be visible.

According to Instagram’s official Twitter account, they’re testing the change because they want users to focus on the photos and videos shared on the platform rather than how many likes the posts get.

But Malaysians don’t need to panic!

Firstly, Malaysia is not among the countries included in the test…yet.

via GIPHY

Secondly, the move is merely a test at the moment.

Instagram first implemented “invisible likes” (this is a term we made up ourselves) in Canada last May. Now, they’re expanding the test to a number of countries so they can gauge how the change resonates with Instagram’s global community.

Which means that it’s still possible that they might just scrap the whole thing entirely.

via GIPHY

Thirdly, you will still be able to see the number of likes and views on your own posts, just not the number of likes on posts by other users.

Naturally, the internet is divided. There are those supporting the move, there are those against it. And then there are those who just want chronological order of the timeline back.

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This news comes at the heels of Instagram introducing a slew of new tools and policies to prevent online bullying taking place on the app.

Another new feature on Instagram is Restrict. It allows users to have better control over how other users contact them and interact with their accounts.

Picture credit: Tech a Peek

Besides that, Instagram will also now alert users when their accounts are at risk of being disabled.

Picture credit: Mememaker

Personally, we think this might be a positive change for the social media platform.

Although research has shown that social media platforms such as Instagram allows us the freedom of self-expression and an avenue to receive social support from our peers, it also shows that receiving likes on your Instagram posts sends a rush of dopamine to the brain.

Picture credit: imgflip

This is not good. In fact, the dopamine rush means social media affects the brain the same way gambling does, which is the reason why social media is so addictive.

Furthermore, scrolling through endless pictures of your friends constantly on holiday or enjoying nights out can promote a ‘compare and despair’ attitude, resulting in feelings of loneliness, depression and anxiety.

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The only people who might actually be negatively affected by “invisible likes” are social media influencers.

Since influencers typically use their number of likes and follower count as their marketing angle to clients, having their likes invisible MIGHT affect their clout with followers.

Malaysian influencers could especially be affected by this, considering they have it pretty tough already based on a recent survey revealing that they are not as influential as influencers from other countries.

(Why Instagram Is the Worst Social Media for Mental Health)
(What to Know About Restrict, Instagram's New Anti-Bullying Feature)
(Instagram ranked worst for young people’s mental health)

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