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How To Hide Likes on Instagram: Mental Health and Social Media

Sen Boyaci
June 28, 2023
Last Updated On
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With social media dominating our lives and a never-ending stream of likes, comments and shares, it is only natural that we can also see these metrics as an indirect validation of ourselves. While social media connects us in unimaginable ways and fosters community, creativity and collaboration, it also contributes to pressure. In response to these concerns, a significant shift is underway as everyday users, creators and even brands have started embracing the idea of hiding likes on Instagram.

The connection between mental health and the pursuit of likes runs deep, and hiding likes on Instagram presents an opportunity for individuals and brands to alleviate this pressure and promote a healthier relationship with social. For creators and influencers, removing like counts helps reduce the need to amass large numbers of likes, creating an environment where the focus can shift towards producing authentic content and building meaningful connections with their audience. Likewise, brands are increasingly embracing the concept of hidden likes to prioritize their communities' well-being. By promoting a culture that values substance over surface-level metrics, brands can demonstrate a genuine concern for the mental health of their followers. This shift encourages a more balanced approach to social media, emphasizing community engagement, support and the celebration of authenticity.

Why Would Instagram Hide Likes?

In recent years, Instagram, along with its parent company Meta, has taken a big step in addressing the impact of social media on mental health by introducing the option to hide likes on Instagram. In 2019, the platform began testing this feature in several countries, including Canada, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand. The goal was to gauge the effects of hiding likes on users' mental health and overall engagement with the platform.

After two years of testing, Instagram announced its findings. It found that removing likes doesn't depressurize Instagram for anyone, so likes are still publicly visible by default. However, the power is now with the users, creators and brands, who can choose to turn them off manually.

By enabling individuals to hide likes, Instagram creates an environment where we can focus more on the content we share rather than fixating on the validation and popularity associated with the number of likes we receive. After recognizing this trend's significance, Facebook followed suit and began experimenting with hiding likes on its platform. 

How Does Social Media Affect Our Mental Health

We’ve all contemplated how social media affects our mental health. Ultimately, it can contribute to increased social comparison, leading to feelings of inadequacy, and this constant pursuit of approval through likes and followers can harm self-esteem. Additionally, the addictive nature of it can disrupt sleep as well as undermine social interactions — factors which can have a direct impact on mental health. 

Research by UCL found that while increased time spent on social media does not directly correlate with mental health issues, there is evidence of a potential negative impact on self-esteem. On the other hand, other studies have shown that excessive use is associated with higher rates of depression and anxiety among young adults. 

In response to the concerns surrounding social media's impact on mental health, newer players like BeReal emerged, strongly emphasizing authenticity. Brands quickly recognized the value of such platforms, as they provided an opportunity to showcase their genuine and relatable sides. Consumers actively seek brands that align with their values and purpose, and platforms like this let marketers demonstrate authenticity and improve mental health by promoting genuine interactions and reducing the pressure to conform to unrealistic standards. By creating a supportive and relatable environment, these platforms foster positive mental well-being for both brands and their audience.

Should Brands Turn Off Likes on Instagram?

There are compelling reasons why a brand might consider turning off like count on Instagram, particularly when targeting a younger audience or when their brand identity is closely tied to mental health. Here are some key reasons:

  1. Reducing social bias and comparison: By hiding likes, brands can help alleviate the social pressure and negative effects of social comparison that often arise from publicly visible likes. 
  2. Understanding the algorithm: Hiding likes does not impact the Instagram algorithm that determines content visibility. Brands can continue to reach their target audience and optimize their content strategy while reducing the emphasis on likes as the sole measure of success. This allows for a more balanced evaluation of content performance based on various engagement metrics.
  3. Shifting focus to more critical KPIs: Likes are often considered a vanity metric that may not provide a comprehensive understanding of a brand's impact or the effectiveness of its marketing efforts. By turning off likes, brands can redirect stakeholders' attention to more meaningful KPIs, such as engagement rate, impressions, reach and conversions. Dash Hudson can help make reporting these metrics more seamless while offering proprietary metrics such as the Entertainment Score — especially relevant in a world where users come to social media to be entertained.
  4. Promoting wellness: For brands closely associated with mental health well-being, hiding likes aligns with their core values and brand identity. It demonstrates a commitment to fostering a healthier digital environment and can enhance the brand's credibility and resonate with its target audience.
  5. Building trust: Removing the pressure to accumulate likes can improve the overall user experience on the platform. By cultivating a more supportive atmosphere, brands can build trust and stronger connections with their audience while witnessing increased loyalty and advocacy.

How To Hide Comments on Instagram

As the popularity of Instagram continues to soar, it has become an essential platform for brands to engage with their audience and grow communities. However, with increased activity comes the need to carefully manage comments under organic posts and ads. While best practices recommend that every comment should be addressed, there are instances where offensive or inappropriate comments may need to be hidden. By hiding comments on Instagram, brands can maintain a positive and respectful environment, ensuring that their audience can engage with content safely. Here is how you can go about hiding comments on Instagram.

What you can do:

  • Hide comments: Comments containing offensive words or emojis are automatically hidden. You can change this setting at any time.
  • Advanced comment filtering: Hide even more comments containing offensive words, but comments from people you follow and who follow you will remain visible. You can change this setting at any time.

How to do it:

  1. Select 'More' in the bottom left, then 'Settings'.
  2. Now click 'How others can interact with you'.
  3. Below 'Hidden words', you can click the relevant buttons next to 'Hide comments' and 'Advanced comment filtering' to turn them on or off.

How To Turn Off Likes on Instagram

As mentioned before, by concealing likes, brands can alleviate the pressure for constant validation, foster a more authentic and creative environment and encourage genuine connections with their audience. Here is how to turn off likes on Instagram under various circumstances: 

How To Hide Your Likes on Instagram Posts Before Publishing

When you create a new post on Instagram, you can hide likes by following the below steps:

  1. Start creating an Instagram post by clicking the '+'symbol at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Once you have selected the image(s), click 'next'.
  3. This will take you to the editing screen, which you can complete or skip by clicking 'next' again
  4. Now select 'Advanced Settings' at the bottom of the screen.
  5. In the 'Like and view counts' section, click the button to the right to 'Hide like and view counts on this post'.

How To Hide Your Likes on Old Instagram Posts

If you've forgotten to hide the likes on a post you've published or want to hide the likes on your other past posts, rest assured that you can do so by following these steps:

  1. Visit your profile and click on the relevant post.
  2. Click on the three dots in the top right corner.
  3. Select 'Hide like count'.

How To Hide Likes on Instagram From Other Accounts

It is easy to hide likes on other people's Instagram posts in your settings. By doing this, you can avoid comparing your brand account with your competitors and force you to focus on more meaningful metrics like reach and engagement. Follow these steps to hide likes from other accounts:

  1. From your profile, click on the three horizontal lines on the top right.
  2. Now select 'Settings and privacy'.
  3. Under the 'What you see' menu, select 'Hide likes'.
  4. And finally, under 'Hide likes' you can turn it on or off.

This means you will now see 'Liked by [user name] and others' on others' posts. 

How To View Hidden Likes on Instagram

Look, we get it — sometimes you're curious to see who has appreciated your post on Instagram, even though you decided to hide the like count — that's perfectly understandable! Even though likes are hidden, others can still double-click on the post to show their love. But instead of the total likes, you'll simply see 'Liked by [user name] and others.' 

Clicking on 'others' reveals a list of everyone who liked the post but not the total number (unless you count them manually). Alternatively, you can go back to your settings and enable the likes.

How Brands Can Still View Hidden Metrics With Dash Hudson

Whether you've hidden them or not, brands can still access their like metrics even after hiding their likes. Brands place a lot of emphasis on metrics such as engagement rate and reach which need the total number of likes to calculate. Instagram Insights, available for Instagram Business Accounts, allows users to view their data directly within the platform to get this number. 

However, brands can also turn to Dash Hudson for a comprehensive and streamlined approach to Instagram insights. Dash Hudson’s Instagram Management Tools provide a one-stop shop for Instagram analytics, offering trusted data across Feed, Stories and Reels. With the tool, brands gain valuable insights into their strategy, enabling them to optimize content creation, drive account growth and make data-driven decisions. The platform offers customizable analytics, ensuring that marketers receive micro and macro-level insights tailored to their specific needs. 

With zero-effort reporting and easy-to-access metrics, Dash Hudson simplifies the process of tracking Instagram performance and empowers brands to create and share content that converts.


Can you hide like count on Reels? 

You can hide like counts on your Reels on Instagram before and after you share them. The process is simple:

  1. Create a new reel or select an existing reel from your drafts.
  2. Once you're happy, click 'Next'.
  3. Select 'Advanced settings'.
  4. Click the button next to 'Hide like count on this reel'.

Why is social media bad for mental health?

Social media's impact on mental health mostly stems from constant comparison and skewed realities. The idealized portrayal of others' lives can impact self-esteem. Limiting screen time, setting boundaries, and fostering self-awareness are crucial to mitigate these effects. Striking a balance between the benefits and risks of social media is key to preserving mental health.

What are the positive and negative effects of social media? 

Social media has both positive and negative effects on individuals. On the positive side, it facilitates connectivity, fosters community and enables sharing of information and ideas. It has often transformed activism and given marginalized voices a platform. However, it can contribute to mental health issues, decrease productivity, and promote the spread of misinformation. Balancing the benefits and drawbacks of social media is crucial, ensuring mindful usage and promoting a safe and supportive online environment.

What happens when you turn off like count on Instagram?

When you turn off the like count on Instagram, the visibility of the total number of likes on your posts is hidden from the public. While users can still like your posts, the specific number of likes will not be displayed. This change aims to shift the focus away from popularity metrics and reduce the pressure associated with seeking validation through likes. 

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