The photo sharing app has become a hub for social media influencers to gain brand deals based on the number of followers they have and the average number of likes they receive on a post, but a new update could be set to change all that as Instagram is planning on removing these features.
According to researcher Jane Manchun Wong, Instagram is testing a new update that hides like counts and followers from audiences, in an attempt to put the focus on "what you share" rather than "how many likes" a post gets.
A message from Instagram on prototype screenshots shared on Twitter by Jane read: "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."
Following Jane's post, an Instagram spokesperson insisted they were not "testing" the feature at the moment, but confirmed the company is actively looking at ways in which they can "reduce pressure" placed on those who use the app, particularly young people.
The spokesperson told TechCrunch: "We're not testing this at the moment, but exploring ways to reduce pressure on Instagram is something we're always thinking about."
The feature is designed to tackle the ways in which validation culture - in which people seek a certain number of likes or followers in order to feel validated and important - can have a negative impact on mental health and self esteem.
As of the time of writing, it's not clear when the feature will be rolled out to devices.