13 November 2019
Facebook is the newest social media platform to test hiding "Like" counts on posts. This is something Instagram has been testing for a few months and now, the world's biggest social media network is all set to follow the suite. This particular move from Facebook was first spotted by well-known app researcher and reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong.
Wong tweeted a screenshot showing what this new feature under testing looks like. The post in the screenshot does not have a likes counter which is usually available on Facebook. It only shows a few post reactions along with "Victor Lo and others" text. It seems like Facebook will show the name of a friend who has reacted/liked the post and add "others" without mentioning the number of likes.
Even though the testing is yet to become live for users, Facebook has officially confirmed its plans regarding the same to TechCrunch. It said that the team is working on expanding the test to the public which will cover post likes as well as reactions. It has not offered any timeline about when this will happen but we can expect this to be a gradual rollout. Facebook is known for starting with a particular region or set of users and then expand slowly depending on the type of results/reactions it receives from beta testers.
As mentioned in the beginning, Instagram is also testing hiding likes count on its social media platform. It kicked off beta testing in May which was limited to Canada in the beginning. Since then, it has been expanded to Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand. The results from the tests have not been shared publically but the way it is expanding to more countries, it seems like they have been in line with the expectations.
The idea behind removing post likes count is to stop the race among social media users where they compete with each other to see whose posts get more likes. The number of likes on one's posts is seen as a sing of "popularity" or being "cool" which can have severe negative effects on users who don't get as many likes as other users on the platform. People have also been found deleting posts after they failed to receive the desired number of likes.