• Celebrities and influencers have expressed outrage with the experimental feature, arguing that it weakens their leverage over brand deals and promotions.
  • But a few celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, have praised the decision.
  • The feature has already been piloted in seven countries including Australia, Ireland, and Canada.

Instagram is testing a new feature in the US this week that could be its most controversial yet: hiding the number of "likes" on posts.

The new feature, announced by Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri on Friday, is being met with strong backlash, especially from many influencers and celebrities.

The feature has already been piloted in seven countries including Australia, Ireland, and Canada in recent months. When it was rolled out there, influencers complained that hiding likes would give them less leverage over brand deals and sponsored content.

Now, American celebrities are calling out the app for experimenting with removing likes, with some threatening to stop posting to Instagram entirely. Others took to Twitter to joke about the proposed changes.

But some, including Kim Kardashian, have heralded Instagram's decision as a boon to users' mental health.

Here's what influencers and celebrities are saying about the new feature that hides likes on Instagram.

Nicki Minaj threatened to stop posting on Instagram if the feature goes into effect.

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Minaj went on to speculate that Instagram is hiding likes in order to manipulate what posts users see in their feed, regardless of how much engagement posts are getting.

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Minaj apparently referred to the well-documented phenomenon of YouTube view counts fluctuating after videos are posted, which can happen when YouTube determines views come from bots or other fraudulent sources.

Rapper Juicy J predicted backlash against the change, tweeting that he expects people to leave Instagram and go "back to real life."

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Cardi B took to Instagram to protest the feature, arguing that removing likes wouldn't make Instagram any less toxic because "the comments affect more than the likes."

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Rapper Rico Nasty said the decision to hide likes will "kill Instagram."

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But some people view the decision to hide likes as a good thing, including Kim Kardashian West.

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"As far as mental health I think taking the likes away and taking that aspect away from [Instagram] would be really beneficial for people," Kardashian West said during The New York Times DealBook conference last week.

Tracee Ellis Ross also voiced support for removing likes, stating that the like count "has adverse effects. It creates a culture that isnt helpful for wellbeing and isnt fruitful for creative energy.

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Ross made the statement during a panel discussion with Mosseri facilitated by WIRED last week .

And some influencers have argued that the number of likes on a post is irrelevant compared to other metrics like follower counts and impressions.

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Instagram

Karen Civil, a social media strategist, made the case that influencers shouldn't pay too much attention to how many likes their posts get.

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SEE ALSO: Influencers are fighting for attention as Instagram tests removing likes from its platform: 'Theres no audience applause at the end of a performance'