It can't be denied that some brands are in the habit of buying likes from fake Instagram accounts to artificially inflate their engagement stats on the platform, and it's a shame of course. Late last year, Instagram took drastic measures to crack down on fake followers and a new, unreleased feature may also have an equally serious impact on like-hungry users.
Reverse-engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong, known for her prolific history of uncovering hidden capabilities being tested by social media services, has spotted the feature. It shows Instagram's experiment with a new post design that will hide the total like counts from a user's followers and anyone else, keeping those stats visible only to the post owner.
A description of the prototype feature states:
“We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only the person who share a post will see the total number of likes it gets.”
The feature by no means removes the ability to like a post. It remains uncertain when, and if, Instagram plans to roll it out to the public and we've reached out to the company for comment.
If the feature makes it to a public release, it may signal the service's intention of spurring a more genuine engagement on the platform born out of interaction from real people instead of paid, fake followers. That is so because purchased likes will no longer matter by then to brands or individuals whose sole purpose is only to project a huge following.
Source: Jane Manchun Wong (Twitter)