The experiment follows Instagram’s recent test to remove “Likes” on its platform.
Facebook is following its efforts on Instagram and experimenting with removing “Like” counts from posts. The test was first spotted by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong.
“Currently, with this unreleased feature, the like/reaction count is hidden from anyone other than the creator of the post, just like how it works on Instagram,” wrote Wong, “The list of people who liked/reacted will still be accessible, but the amount will be hidden.”
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the company is considering hiding “Like” counts on Facebook, but had nothing further to share.
Why we should care
Social platforms are paying more attention to the benefits — or lack thereof — attached to vanity metrics. Reports that Instagram was considering removing “Like” counts from post began as early as April, with confirmation later in the year it was testing the feature in seven different countries. Last week, YouTube said it was beginning to phase out exact counts for public-facing subscriber numbers on channels with 1,000 or more followers.
News that Facebook is going down the same path it already started on Instagram increases the likelihood it could have a broader roll-out across both platforms. This move may not potentially have measurable impact for branded posts on Facebook, but it could affect the brand-influencer relationship — especially in terms of how brands and advertisers evaluate which influencers they may want to build partnerships with.
Influencers will have to craft more valuable content, no longer able to rely on “Likes” to catch the attention of a brand. And brands will need to become more invested in the evaluation process — looking beyond how popular someone’s posts may appear to be from the number of “Likes” they receive.
More on the news
- After removing “Like” counts in Canada, Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch in July it was testing removing the metric in Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.
- When Instagram first began experimenting with removing “Likes,” the company said “exploring ways to reduce pressure” on the platform is something they’re always thinking about.
- Lara Logan, a VP at the influencer agency Collective Bias, told Marketing Land that removing “Likes” opens up opportunities for influencer agencies to add value and transparency to the industry.