Credit: Christian Vierig/Getty Image

This morning, Australia woke to controversial news; Instagram has hidden the number of likes from other users. While it came as a surprise to some, the rollout has been expected for some time now. In May, a trial commenced throughout Canada as Instagram updated its feed to hide the number of likes any given image or video had and now after success, the controversial updated has hit Australian shores.

Serving as a ‘test region’, tech and social media savvy users have had their number of likes wiped from other feeds. Instead, a post will now say the it was liked by ‘X User’ and ‘others’. For some, its a sigh of relief but for others – i.e. influencers and businesses – it could prove tricky. For many businesses, decisions to use specific influencers come from engagements.

Naturally, the hashtag #instagramlikes on Twitter – who still display posts stats – is trending.

So why the change?

According to Mia Garlick, the Director of Public Policy for Facebook and Instagram in Australia and New Zealand, it’s all about taking the “competition” out of posting. “We know that people come to Instagram to express themselves and to be creative and follow their passions. And we want to make sure it’s not a competition,” Mia Garlick told Hack.

Despite initial panic, while you’re unable to see a hard figure, you can still see a full list of who has liked each others image, meaning social media stalking still lives on.

The trial will be rolled out across New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Italy and Brazil. Any regions outside of this area are safe. Or not safe, we’ll let you decide.

thoughts?