Facebook is giving users the option to hide the Like counts on their posts. It announced this on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, on Facebook Newsroom. Instagram and Facebook users now have more control over their experience on the apps.
Facebook has been testing this new feature since 2019. According to them, testing hiding like counts they wanted to see if it might depressurize people’s experience on Instagram. And that what they heard from people and experts was that not seeing like counts was beneficial for some and annoying to others, particularly because people use like counts to get a sense of what’s trending or popular.
An end to Like-chasing? Not quite. Users can decide if they want to see a Like count on others’ posts, theirs by others, and which of their posts they want a like count on. This way, Facebook satisfies those who feel pressured by Likes and those who depend on Like counts — such as influencers — to use the app.
Instagram realized that if it made a decision for its users, it would anger one side or the other — even if the move in either direction didn’t really impact other core metrics, like app usage.
On Instagram, both content consumers and content producers can turn on or off Like and View counts on posts — which means you can choose to not see these metrics when scrolling your own Feed and you can choose whether to allow Likes to be viewed by others when you’re posting. These are configured as two different settings, which provide for more flexibility and control.
According to Facebook, pressure caused by Like counts, made people focus less on content and more on content engagement.
Why does Facebook care? Per TechCrunch, the pressure from Like counts made people opt for “Like free” platforms. The new Like counts feature could be a way to retain users.