Instagram has started hiding likes in the UAE

The aim is to encourage users to focus on the quality of content, not the amount of likes it gets

FILE PHOTO: The Instagram application is seen on a phone screen August 3, 2017.   REUTERS/Thomas White/File Photo
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UAE Instagram users have started to report that their like counts have been removed. The new directive has been slowly rolled out by the social media platform in a bid to get users to "focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get".

In line with the new initiative, all likes will eventually be hidden, except for your own. When you click your own post, you'll get a message, along with a number, that reads: "Only you can see the total number of people who liked your post."

The Instagram update will remove like count, instead showing a username 'and others'
The Instagram update will remove like count, instead showing a username 'and others'

Instagram announced the news back in April, trialling the change in Canada before rolling out the changes on Thursday, November 14, tweeting: "Starting today, we're expanding our test of private like counts globally. If you're in the test, you'll no longer see the total number of likes and views on photos and videos posted to Feed unless they're your own."

In the UAE, users started to report noticing the changes as early as Friday, November 15.

The change is not across the board; for many, the like count is still visible on Instagram.

It is worth noting that when the changes are rolled out across every account, you will still be able to see who has liked a post, just not a total figure adding up the number of times it's been double tapped.

"We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love," Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy, said back in April.

Her sentiment was echoed by Instagram in its official statement, which read: "From early tests of this feature, we have found that it encourages some people to undo their comment and share something less hurtful once they have had a chance to reflect.

"This is especially crucial for teens since they are less likely to report online bullying even when they are the ones who experience it the most."