By Elle Campbell

How would you feel if you had no way of knowing how many likes or views someone else’s post on Instagram (aka the highlight reel) received? Do you think you might feel… happier?

Instagram seem to think so.

As part of an experiment in Canada, Instagram is testing out a few new features designed to promote the wellbeing of users’ lives, and to “lead the fight against cyber bullying”.

Announced May 1 at Facebook’s F8 Conference, one new feature will hide a post’s likes and/or view counts (although the post creator can still see the names of those who liked their post), as well as making the follower count less prominent.

If the new feature is here to stay, it will be interesting to see how this could impact Instagram influencers, as many of them are paid based on post likes. Instagram has assured the public they will find other ways for influencers to communicate their brand worth (metrics) to the brands and companies who hire them, but they haven’t said anything in relation to how this might impact brands, businesses and products who use the platform.

Instagram announced several other new proposed changes designed to enhance the wellbeing of users’ lives at F8, including a “nudge” feature, which will alert someone when they are about to make a comment that could potentially be hurtful or harmful and an “Away” mode (similar to what we used on MSN); and also a “Manage Interactions” feature, which will give the user some control over how another user can interact with them. For example, maybe someone can see their photos but cannot DM them.

Along with the proposed features to clean up their digital playground, Instagram announced a few other updates that will be rolling out in the U.S.: a new camera with enhanced features, the ability for Instagram content creators to be able to directly link to products through their post images by tagging items (only of participating brands, though), the ability to donate to non-for-profits in Instagram stories, as well the ability to share text-only and sticker-only content (more details to emerge on this one).

And yes – Mark Zuckerberg addressed the heavy scrutiny of Facebook’s user data security, naming six new priorities for the company: private interactions, encryption, reducing the permanence of posts, improving safety, creating the ability for users to communicate between Facebook’s family of apps and securing data storage.


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