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If implemented, Facebook posts will no longer show the number of likes or reactions to a post. The user who created the post can see a list of people and their reactions, but a number won’t be displayed.
Will influencers suffer another slap in the face? Just after Instagram said it plans to hide Like counter from the public, Facebook said it could soon start doing the same. As per the company, hiding Like counter on News Feed posts would be used in order to avert users’ from jealousy and discourage them from self-censorship.
As we all know, Instagram is already in the test phase of this measure in seven countries including Canada and Brazil. It means it allows showing a post’s audience just a few names of mutual friends who’ve hit a Like button instead of the total number.
The main idea is to prevent users from devastating themselves by comparing to others and perhaps even feeling insufficient in case their posts don’t get as many Likes. It could also stop users from deleting posts they think aren’t getting enough Likes or not sharing in the first place.
Reverse engineering master Jane Manchun Wong first saw Facebook prototyping the hidden Like counts in its Android app. When asked, Facebook confirmed that they are considering testing removal of Like counts. Still, it’s not live for users yet.
Facebook is working to hide like counts, too!https://t.co/WnUrM12aZg
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) September 2, 2019
Wong said that by hiding the like/reaction counts from anyone other than the post creator, users might feel less anxious about the perceived popularity of their content. She wrote:
“It has been shown in multiple papers that social media use may influence mental health, including leading to depression and anxiety. It takes time to develop, observe, research and release experimental features like this. Experimental features could come and go. But I am certain hiding the public like counts will be beneficial to the digital wellbeing of a large chunk of users.”
Facebook however didn’t want to share results from the Instagram Like hiding tests neither the exact motives that pushed them to do so, or any schedule for starting testing. If they actually do decide to go ahead with a test, the company will probably do it gradually and even give up if it shows that it crucially hurts running or ad revenue.
However, the prototype might be already showing some positive results from hiding Like counts in Instagram, that first was reported in April after it was spotted by Wong there as well. After later being tested in Canada, Instagram added Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Ireland, and Japan to the test in July. I
t means that the author of the post can still see the total of Likes, but noone else can. The development of that Instagram test and Facebook potential trying shows that it might have positive or insignificant effects on sharing while helping mental health.
Removing Like counts could put less pressure on users and encourage them to share more freely and frequently. It could also conceal Facebook’s own potential decline in popularity as users switch to other apps. Posts not getting as many Likes as they used to could hasten the exodus.
In the other news, Facebook has finally gotten a partner app for Instagram dubbed ‘Threads’ meant to enable users to use the basic features and tools that the Instagram has to offer to be able to communicate updates to the closest associates of the users.
The kinds of information to be shared with friends include location, speed, the battery life besides regular updates via text, pictures, and videos which are a core part of the Instagram end-user experience.
At the time of writing, stocks of Facebook Inc. (FB) went up a bit by 0.054% to $185.67.