Much to like about Facebook likes hiding

|| October 2, 2019

By Jordan McDonald

55 comms social media coordinator

Facebook looks to be following Instagram in hiding likes, making the number of reactions, views and likes only visible to the author. The testing commenced here in Australia on September 27, which was confirmed by a Facebook spokesperson to CNET in an email statement saying: “We are running a limited test where like, reaction, and video view counts are made private across Facebook”.

Facebook says they will gather data throughout the testing period to determine whether this change will improve the user experience on the platform. The social media network indicated earlier in September that it might test this change after the well-documented testing it performed on Instagram. The change aims to reduce the pressure of how many likes or views a post will receive and ultimately improve user mental health long term.

I was happy about the changes they made to Instagram and the majority of my peers shared the same feeling. Social media credibility, for so long, was determined by number value, so it’s been nice to see the focus repositioned around content quality. It’s also exciting that Australia is the first to see this change. As a country, we’re very on-trend with everything technology and social media – I’d go as far, in some cases, to say we are trend-setting, so I believe we’re an ideal candidate for these changes – particularly those that aim to improve the mental health impact of social media. Additionally, this change introduces a small element of privacy for the author, a concept Facebook has struggled to grasp in recent years.

Will it become a permanent change? Yes. If Instagram is capable of functioning without the need to quantify every post publicly then Facebook can absolutely follow suit. I suspect the results will indicate an overwhelmingly positive response to the change and I look forward to the continued efforts Facebook roll-out in the future.