From today, Instagram users in Australia will no longer be able to see the total number of 'likes' on posts. While you will still be able to see the number of likes on your own posts, you won't be able to see likes on others posts and vice versa.
This is part of a trial to remove pressure from users on the platform. “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,” said Mia Garlick, the Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy. “We are now rolling the test out to Australia so we can learn more about how this can benefit people’s experiences on Instagram, and whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story.”
Measurement tools and engagement metrics will still be available, so the change won't affect business users. Influencers, on the other hand, who use the number of likes they receive on posts to secure partnership deals, will have to start focusing on other metrics. With so many people mindlessly scrolling Instagram and liking posts, focussing on post saves, swipe-up to buy and reach are far more important measures of engagement, that are more likely to lead to a sale.
A decision will be made at a later date on whether or not the update will be made permanent.