Facebook plans to ditch ‘Like’ counts on the platform

Facebook is reportedly testing a feature to hide ‘likes’ count in Newsfeed. The social networking giant already tested a similar feature on Instagram, in an attempt to break users’ obsession to get likes on their photos. The move, if implemented, will no longer display the number of likes or reactions to a user’s post. The test was first spotted by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong in Facebook’s Android app.

“I observed that Facebook has recently begun prototyping this hidden like/reaction count feature in their Android app by reverse-engineering the app and playing with the code underneath,” Wong wrote in a blog post.

Besides, Facebook has also confirmed it’s experimenting with the removal of likes on posts. We are considering hiding like counts from Facebook,” a Facebook spokesman said in an email.

With this new change, the user who created a post would be able to see the number of people who liked or reacted to a post, but an exact number won’t be displayed. A lot of companies, gaming portals, celebrities, businesses, online casinos and poker sites from all over the world such as these Australian gambling websites use social media platforms owned and operated by Facebook Inc. Wong, however, notes that likes and reactions on comments were displayed with this feature turned on.

As already mentioned, the whole idea is to prevent users from comparing themselves to others if their posts don’t receive as many likes and reactions. Instagram has already rolled out a similar feature earlier this year in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Japan, Italy, and New Zealand. At the time of the rollout, Mia Garlick, the director of policy for Facebook Australia and New Zealand said: “We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love.”

Research suggests that showing the number of likes and reactions to a post brings a competitive dimension among users on social networks, a practice that can affect the mental well-being of a user. Besides, a survey in the UK found spending more than two hours on social media was linked with increased rates of anxiety, depression, and poor sleep.

It appears Facebook has finally woken up to the fact that users are heavily influenced by the number of likes they receive on a post. With the possibility of the new changes being implemented, the company wants users to spend quality time on social media, as opposed to just focusing on getting likes on their photos. That said, it remains to be seen what impact the removal of the ‘like’ button will have on users. However, Facebook seems rather excited by the early results.