Facebook says it is testing removing the number of likes on posts so the platform doesn't 'feel like a competition'

(Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)
  • Facebook is testing the removal of like counts on its platform, beginning with Australia.
  • Users won’t be able to see the number of likes, reactions and views on other people’s Facebook posts. The numbers will only be visible to the person who posted them.
  • Facebook’s move comes after Instagram removed the number of likes on its platform in Australia in July.

Facebook is the latest social platform to remove the number of likes on posts, beginning with a test right here in Australia.

In a limited test, the social networking giant is removing the ability for others to see the number of likes, reactions and views on your posts. Instead, the numbers will be private and only visible to you.

Facebook told Business Insider Australia in an email that the move is designed improve the well-being of users and shift the focus from the quantity to the quality of interactions on your posts.

In other words, Facebook doesn’t want you to focus on the number of likes or reactions you get, but instead the quality of the photos and videos you share.

“We want Facebook to be a place where people can connect and share in ways most valuable to them,” Facebook Australia director of policy, Mia Garlick told Business Insider Australia in an email.

“We want to understand from people whether removing the total counts improves their experience, while also not limiting any positive interactions.”

Before and after the removal of likes. Image, Facebook.

Facebook said it wanted to be “a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves”.

“We don’t want Facebook to feel like a competition,” the company said. “We hope to learn whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story.”

Facebook’s decision comes two months after Instagram – which is owned by Facebook – tested the removal of likes in Australia, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand, Japan, Italy and Ireland.

Facebook added that because Instagram and Facebook are different, it will “likely see different data come from the test”.

One of the other main reasons for the test is to see how people interact with each other.

“Often, seeing reactions gives people a sense of whether they should interact with this content. So during this test we want to assess whether hiding reactions helps people feel more comfortable sharing while not limiting their interactions.”

After seeing how people engage with the new format, Facebook plans to evaluate whether to roll it out more broadly.

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