The feature was found by Jane Manchun Wong, who often hunts down features in testing in Instagram and Twitter. As depicted in an image shown by Wong, the like count on a photo is hidden by default and visible only by the person who posted the photo.
“We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only the person who shared a post will see the total number of likes it gets,” reads the description of the feature.
In a statement to The Verge, however, Instagram says that the feature is not being tested at the current time: “We’re not testing this at the moment, but exploring ways to reduce pressure on Instagram is something we’re always thinking about.
Hiding likes would fundamentally change the way Instagram works, as liking photos and garnering likes is one of the platform’s main features.