Facebook’s new option of hiding Like counts is rolling out this week for both Facebook and Instagram. This option has been under development for years and its early testing began in 2019.
The idea of launching the option to hide likes on posts stemmed from users’ experience on the platform, which was pressurizing due to the anxiety and embarrassment of not receiving enough likes on posts. This has been a problem particularly for younger users who are highly conscious of how other people perceive them, a lot of times even resulting in them taking down posts that have a fewer number of likes.
Of course, this like-chasing culture also led to attempts to gain clout, as well as notoriety, hence contributing to a less authentic environment on social media.
As a result of this overwhelming experience, some users started wanting a ‘Like-Free’ social networking space, that would allow them to engage with their followers without being pressurized to be ‘popular’.
Even though Facebook could’ve decided to entirely remove the like counts, this wouldn’t have been that smart of a move, considering how likes are used as a social media currency, especially for the influencer community, for the purpose of brand deals and job opportunities.
Instagram head, Adam Mosseri, said that the like count option “did end up being pretty polarizing.” “Some people really liked it and some people really didn’t,” he said.
As a result, Facebook decided to offer the option as a user-controlled setting on both its platforms. Now, content consumers and content producers on Instagram can turn the option of Like and View counts on posts on or off. There are two different settings within this option, one with which users can choose to not see these metrics when scrolling their Feed, and the other with which they can choose whether to allow Likes to be viewed by others on their posts.
On Facebook, users can find the option to “Hide number of reactions” in the Settings and Privacy area, and they can turn the option on or off for both their own posts, as well as for posts from others in News Feed, Groups and Pages.