Instagram is now hiding the number of likes on grid posts, in a test to see whether it prevents feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem among users.
The trial is being rolled out in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Brazil, having conducted a similar test in Canada earlier this year.
Instagram - and social media in general - has long been criticised for inadvertently applying pressure on users to keep up and 'compete' with other people's lives, making them feel like their own is not good enough.
Instagram's owner, Facebook, identified that seeing the number of likes on posts is a major source of this low self-esteem, and is trialling a platform minus that function as a result. Users will be able to see how many likes their own post has garnered, but others will not. The idea is that it will encourage people to "focus on sharing the things you love" instead of merely the content you think other people will like.
The goal is to see "whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story", Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand's director of policy, said in a statement to the BBC.
Low self-esteem is intrinsically linked to mental health. The NHS reminds us that "when our self-esteem is low, we tend to see ourselves and our life in a more negative and critical light. We also feel less able to take on the challenges life throws at us."
"Living with low self-esteem can harm your mental health, leading to problems like depression and anxiety," the advice notes.
Instagram receives 1 billion active users every month, making it one of the most popular social networks in the world. With research studies having found proven links between the app and mental health issues, the scale of the problem is self-explanatory. So it makes sense that Instagram's creators are experimenting with the way the platform functions in a bid to prevent users suffering.
The trial is no doubt triggering concerns for Instagram influencers, however, who rely on the number of likes to measure engagement on branded content as the basis of their income.
It remains to be seen exactly how Instagram plans on measuring the impact of this trial, and what will be deemed a 'success' major enough to warrant rolling out the change worldwide. Currently, Instagram users in England, Scotland and Wales will still be able to see how many likes posts have receive