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Facebook and Instagram to let users hide like counts

The company said its decision to hide likes was an attempt to "depressurize people’s experience on Instagram."
TODAY Illustration / Getty Images
/ Source: NBC News

Facebook announced Wednesday that Instagram users will soon be able to hide like counts on their posts, a move meant to address ongoing concerns about mental health and users seeking validation through engagement with their posts.

Instagram was already testing the feature, which the company said was an attempt to "depressurize people’s experience on Instagram." It will also be available to Facebook users in the coming weeks.

"What we heard from people and experts was that not seeing like counts was beneficial for some and annoying to others, particularly because people use like counts to get a sense of what’s trending or popular, so we’re giving you the choice," the company said in its blog post.

Users will both be able to hide like counts on posts they see, as well as their own posts.

Instagram likes and their effect on users' mental health have been a hotly debated topic on and off social media. Memes like "Instagram vs. Reality" have emphasized the way both influencers and average users warp their lives to fit the app's aesthetic, and how self-worth and validation have sometimes been attached to the number of likes a person gets on a post.

Experts have said hiding likes could be beneficial to users' mental health, while others argue the damage is already done.

Facebook said it is collaborating with the JED Foundation, a mental health and suicide prevention nonprofit that focuses on teenagers, and creators such as Bunny Michael (@bunnymichael) and Schuyler Bailar (@pinkmantaray) on a new Instagram Guide, which offers advice on how to manage pressure online.

This article originally appeared on NBC News.