Social media giant Facebook confirms it’s testing a new feature that hides the number of likes on a post.
Why? Well, the company claims the move is designed to help protect the mental health of its users.
Indeed, it seems Facebook is following in the footsteps of Instagram, which began hiding likes back in July.
From this morning, many Australian Facebook users will no longer see the number of likes, reactions and video views on a post.
Of course, there will be a control group who will continue to see their likes and views. The idea is that the like-hiding test will measure whether removing likes creates more meaningful interactions.
Facebook farewells likes
If Instagram is anything to go by, users will still be able to see likes on their own posts. However, they won’t be able to view the number of likes on other people’s posts.
Facebook says removing the likes is being done in a bid to protect users’ mental health. They feel by not showing the number of likes, people will feel happier and less self-conscious.
While there have been no reports indicating the public response to Instagram’s like-hiding test, we can only assume the result has been positive — seeing as they’re now expanding it to Facebook.
Facebook’s Australian head of policy Mia Garlick says, “We want to see whether removing the visibility of the likes and reaction count increases the value that people find when they’re connecting and sharing on Facebook. So do people find that this helps them focus on the quality of the interactions, rather than getting distracted by the quality of likes and reactions?”
Will like-hiding feature increase authenticity?
Certainly, there are two sides to the story. There are those that think hiding the likes will help stop the constant battle for attention amongst the platform users. However, influencers, who rely heavily on likes for business opportunities, might be less accepting of the like-hiding feature.
It’s easy for us social media users to fall into the trap of becoming preoccupied with the number of likes we have. Without a doubt, if we don’t get the number of likes we were expecting, this could have a negative impact on our mental health and wellbeing.
However, will removing likes encourage people to share the things they love, without constantly competing for attention?
Garlick says, “Certainly, a large part of the driver for this is based on feedback from wellbeing researchers. We’ve certainly had positive comments from mental health experts. Indeed, there is evidence that if you can see other people’s like counts, then that can impact how you’re interacting on the platform. So we just want to see if removing it and making it private increases the value people find on the platform.”
What do you think about Facebook’s like-hiding feature?