Instagram boasts one billion active monthly users. One of its defining features is the ability to like posts. Recent studies indicate that addiction to social media, and the number of likes received on content, is akin to drug use. Instagram is currently working on a prototype design that will conceal the number of likes on posts. Likes will only be visible to the person who made the post.

This testing in design change was discovered by Jane Manchun Wong, a prominent reverse-engineering expert who has uncovered many of Instagram's planned features before they were announced or launched. Wong spotted the tweaks in the Instagram Android code base and has generated the following screenshots:

The screenshots clearly display the adjustments in design as likes are not visible on the public interface. There is also a ‘View Likes’ button which lists the users who liked a specific post.

Wong says the test states that Instagram 'want(s) your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get. During this test, only the person who shares a post will see the total number of likes it gets.'

Instagram claims it has not tested the feature. In a statement to The Verge, a spokesperson for the company said: 'We’re not testing this at the moment, but exploring ways to reduce pressure on Instagram is something we’re always thinking about.'

Wong has also discovered testing for new stickers in Instagram's Direct Messaging service.

Instagram has faced a series of challenges this year. Facebook recently revealed that millions, not tens of thousands, of Instagram users had their passwords stored in plaintext. The services co-founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, also parted ways last September over disagreements with Mark Zuckerberg on the app's future.