'Likes' to be hidden on Instagram in NZ

Instagram users in New Zealand and Australia will no longer be able to see how many 'likes' a post has a received under trial changes to "remove pressure" on the digital platform's users.

Instagram will today begin rolling out the trial update removing the total number of likes on photos and viewings of videos on user feeds and profiles, and permalink pages.

Users will still be able to see a list of likes on their posts, just not the overall number.

However, the change won't affect measurement tools for businesses and creators on Instagram, which is owned by social media giant Facebook, and all likes and engagement metrics will still be available in those tools.

The trial update expands on a similar change introduced in Canada in May and will be extended to New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Italy and Brazil.

Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy Mia Garlick said Instagram should be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves, rather than judged.

"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," she said in a statement.

"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."

Australia was among those countries chosen for the trial because it has a fast-growing, highly engaged community of millions of people on Instagram and a tech-savvy audience.

A decision will be made at a later date on whether or not the update will be made permanent.

Instagram last week introduced two new features aimed at combating bullying on the platform.

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