Facebook is considering a test to hide likes on News Feed posts. The company previously tested a similar move on Instagram in August. On that platform, a post’s author can still see the Like total, but no one else can.
Reverse engineering master Jane Manchun Wong discovered Facebook prototyping the hidden Like counts in its Android app earlier this week.
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) September 2, 2019
It has not been activated as of yet.
The idea behind hiding likes is to prevent users from destructively comparing themselves to others and feeling inadequate if their posts don’t get as many Likes as their peers'.
If implemented, Facebook posts will no longer show the number of likes or reactions to a post. The user who created the post can see a list of people and their reactions, but a number won't be displayed.
Wong wrote a blog on her discovery. She noted: "It takes time to develop, observe, research and release experimental features like this.
"Experimental features could come and go. But I am certain hiding the public like counts will be beneficial to the digital wellbeing of a large chunk of users."
If it decides to go ahead with a test, Facebook would likely do so gradually and pull back if it significantly hurts usage or ad revenue.
Facebook has not officially commented.