It was revealed last week that social networking site, Facebook has recently been testing a function that would see its ‘like’ counters hidden from the site.
Should the feature be introduced to the site, Facebook would be following in the same footsteps as photo-sharing platform Instagram, which has already gone through this process and has rolled out a feature removing the counter from the platform in certain countries.
While the number of likes is hidden from public view, the number of likes a post receives will still be visible to the author of the post. The feature is designed so that more effort and focus is put onto the actual content published on these sites rather than tracking the number of likes content receives. This is supposed to result in a more positive user experience and is designed to stop the emphasis on likes and comparisons, which could translate to more time being spent on these apps.
Instagram has had its version of the feature active for a little while now but has yet to publish any statistics and metrics relating to it, but with Facebook quickly following suit could suggest that it has not been a failure.
The Facebook version of the feature was first found by app expert Jane Manchun Wong, who tweeted her findings.
Facebook is working to hide like counts, too!https://t.co/WnUrM12aZg
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) September 2, 2019
Following this, Facebook did confirm that it has been considering removing the ‘like’ counter, but did not give any more information away.
A recent study showed that the most harmful feature of any social media site was in fact the like counter. These have become synonymous with social media platforms in the past few year with many people measuring the success of a post based on the number of likes they receive. This has had a negative impact of mental health, as many people feel the pressures of having to reach a certain number of likes on each of their posts.
The study was conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health, and involved a survey of 2,000 people, both adults and teens. The study showed that after the ‘like’ button, the most toxic features of social media were posts, images and videos that evoked painful memories, content that trigged FOMO (the fear of missing out), and celebrity accounts and the pressures associated with them.
The ‘like’ button is one of the most iconic features about Facebook, with the thumbs up icon being synonymous with the platform. This will not be going anywhere, as is just the number next to it that could be set to go. Facebook is now thinking about why people joined the site in the first place, the impact it has on people’s mental health and going back to basics in terms of what it was created to do – bring a community together and help people stay in touch.