There’s no doubt that social media websites have become everyday outlets for people to express their opinions, emotions and whatnots. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are where people post their latest and greatest photos from their recent vacation or shopping spree. The side effect is that many social media users feel envious upon seeing their friends having the time of their lives. That often leads to feelings of inadequacy and self-pity.
As a result, Facebook is testing the removal of Facebook like counts on users’ posts. The change was revealed by app researcher and tech blogger Jane Manchun Wong, who discovered it in the code of Facebook’s Android app.
With the unreleased feature, the like and reaction count is hidden from anyone, except to the author of the post. Users can see who liked or reacted to the post, but the number of likes are hidden. Likes on comments are not hidden, but that could change soon as Facebook continues testing and refining the feature.
Facebook has confirmed that it is indeed planning to test the removal of post like counts, but added that it is not live yet. The company didn’t say when or where it will proceed with the test.
Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has also tested removing like counts for its users in Canada. Instagram said that it is testing the feature so that users can focus on photos and videos, instead of the number of likes they are getting. The test has since expanded to other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Italy and Japan.
Hiding the number of likes on Facebook posts may reduce anxiety and depression among some social media users who are worried about the popularity of their posts. It’s a common trend among Facebook users to delete their posts if they don’t garner enough likes or comments.
On the other hand, getting plenty of likes and reactions often boosts one’s ego. Studies have shown that when a person gets a like on social media, it triggers the brain to send a chemical called dopamine, which is associated with pleasure. That is why social media is so addicting.