Reportedly, Facebook may begin hiding likes count on users’ posts soon. The company already tested a similar move on Instagram in August as a trick to help break users’ fixation with getting likes on their posts.
On Monday, Data miner Jane Manchun Wong discovered that Facebook is experimenting with the change in its Android app. The company is considering to test the removal of likes on posts to its social media platform, confirming an earlier report by TechCrunch.
If implemented, Facebook posts will no longer display the count of likes or reactions to a post. A user can see a list of people and their reactions on his posts, but a number won’t be displayed. Wong also noticed that likes and reactions on comments were still viewable with this feature turned on. Users would be able to see whether one friend of theirs “and others” have liked their posts, instead of seeing an exact number of likes.
While in the case of Instagram, the corporate’s logic was that public like counts might be contributing to a kind of digital one-upmanship on social media and potentially making users feel bad. The modifications come after an extended talk in the tech industry about the way social media and apps make people feel.
Many key former employees at both Facebook and Google have spoken out regretting the platforms they helped to create. Leah Perlman, the woman who helped design Facebook’s “like” button, told The Ringer in 2017 that she observed that constant notifications on social media made her feel bad. “Have you seen that episode of Black Mirror?” she said at the time. “I just watched that about a month ago, and that haunts me on a pretty regular basis. Because it’s not that far off.”
STABLX (social media marketing company) pointed that the change may only happen for the users end not the business end of Facebook. Engagement and reaction plays a big role in brand advertising and removing it may become a nightmare for social media marketers.
Additionally, YouTube is also softening one of its popularity metrics this month. The company announced in May that it would be rolling out “abbreviated public subscriber counts.” This simply means that channels with big subscriber counts won’t display exact numbers.