Facebook considers hiding Like counts

Amid testing of hiding the Like counts on Instagram, parent company Facebook could soon start hiding the Like counter on its News Feed posts. Instagram, which is already testing the removal of this feature in 7 countries including Canada, only shows a post’s audience just a few names of mutual friends who’ve Liked it instead of the total number.

The idea is to protect users’ from envy and feeling inadequate if their posts don’t get as many Likes. It could also dissuade them from self-censorship; deleting posts they think aren’t getting enough Likes or not sharing in the first place. While the Like has been a key Facebook feature for over a decade, users have increasingly complained that it can make them feel bad, as people get caught up worrying about whether their posts get enough Likes.

According to app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, she found code inside Facebook’s Android app that hides the exact amount of Likes on a post from everyone but the original poster. Other users will just see a few reaction emoji and a note that it was liked by a friend and others. Facebook has confirmed to TechCrunch that it’s considering testing removal of Like counts. However, it’s not live for users yet.

Facebook Android App without Likes

So far, the company has declined to share the results from Instagram’s Like hiding tests or any schedule for Facebook starting testing. There are signs, however, that it’s been successful on Instagram so far. If Facebook does decide to go ahead, it would likely do so gradually and pull back if it significantly hurts usage or ad revenue. But if it leads to more posts on Facebook, and more time spent on the social platform, then we’re likely to see tests like these continue to expand. What are your thoughts?