Instagram likes to be hidden for New Zealand users in trial to 'remove pressure'

Instagram users in New Zealand 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 is trialling the removal of like counts on posts. Source: Instagram

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, as well as 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 also be extended to Australia, Canada, 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 want Instagram to be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves," she said.

"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.

"We are now rolling the test out to select countries including New Zealand 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."

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.