Facebook will begin hiding like counts on posts in a test that begins September 27th in Australia.
News broke earlier in the month that Facebook was considering this move. The company confirmed its plans after hidden like counts were uncovered by reverse-engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong.
Now, TechCrunch reports that Facebook will roll out hidden like counts tomorrow in Australia. Given how the company is treating like counts on Instagram, this test could very well expand to other countries.
Hidden like counts on Instagram were first tested in Canada before expanding to multiple countries months later.
Facebook’s hidden like counts will work the same as Instagram. Users can see who liked a post but not the total amount of likes a post has received. Only the author of the post will be able to see the total count.
A Facebook spokesperson tells TechCrunch:
“We are running a limited test where like, reaction, and video view counts are made private across Facebook. We will gather feedback to understand whether this change will improve people’s experiences.”
Instagram’s test is still ongoing in select countries, so Facebook will continue to gather feedback on the effects of hidden like counts on users’ well-being.
The goal remains the same across both platforms. Facebook wants users to feel comfortable sharing content without feeling like they’re competing for likes with their peers.
This change could also help people appreciate others’ posts based on their own merits, rather than judging them solely on how many likes they’ve received.
Studies have shown that social media like counts can have a negative effect on people’s mental health. Facebook is clearly making at least some effort to keep its platforms enjoyable for users.
If data shows this change is doing more good then bad then it may roll out to further countries. Although there are no further tests planned at this time.