Facebook is Considering Hiding Like Counts for Users
Facebook is considering following in the footsteps of Instagram and hiding the “like” count on posts. The company has been under a lot of pressure to reduce post-anxiety for users emotionally-dependent on generating likes for each post. Generally speaking, the idea to hide likes would generate more genuine content and engagement between users and diminish the need for unrealistic fairy tale posts.
Facebook has confirmed they are considering a test to hide the “like” feature but when the test will begin is currently unknown and we haven’t seen it with any of our posts or pages.
Similarly to Instagram’s hide feature, users will be able to see how many people have liked a users content, but will not be able to see if other friends have liked other people’s posts. Facebook hopes this would help minimize the feelings of jealously and insufficiency for the users who can easily compare themselves to other people.
The Stigma of Social Media
While “liking” photos has been a feature on Facebook since day 1, there has been a large amount of research showing how social media affects a majority of users on the platform leading to jealousy, anxiety and depression. Feeling like your posts have to be as good as the next user is not how social media should be perceived but in the world we live in with social media influencers taking over the web, it makes users feel like their lives are not as exciting. Users tend to delete posts that in their opinion did not get enough likes or fear to post because they don’t want to deal with the lack of attention the post would get. Removing the feature could make a huge impact on users and could resolve the pressure many feel they are under to provide the perfect post to be popular.
How will this Affect Businesses?
Many businesses rely on post engagement to promote their business. If a user is shown a sponsored post that has a lot of likes, they are more likely to engage with it themselves. Building likes and followers for businesses could be undermined by removing the like count on posts and generating less engagement with sponsored posts overall. This isn’t the first big change with Facebook though. In 2018, Facebook essentially required businesses to advertise with promoted posts in order to reach page followers. We adapted then, and, if the likes are hidden, we’ll adapt now.