In an effort to improve user experience and lessen adverse mental health effects, Facebook will be trialling the privatisation of its iconic ‘thumbs up’ button. Much like its sister platform Instagram, which trialled hiding the amount likes in seven different countries earlier this year, Facebook will begin testing the same concept this week, with a limited amount of users in Australia.
Starting on Friday, Facebook will hide the like and reaction counts on its platform for a certain amount of people. The feature will not be entirely removed but rather privatised with only the account holder being able to see the amount of engagement their posts have recieved.
According to TechCrunch, the company’s reason for trialling the removal of the public display of reaction count is to put an emphasis on the quality of content users share rather than focusing on the popularity of content. The number of likes and reactions on posts and photos, as well as video view counts, will be hidden to the public under the test which will gather feedback to understand whether this change will improve people’s experiences.
Social media has become a sort popularity contest especially amongst younger users, who go to the extra and often stupid mile for that ‘thumbs up’ or ‘heart’. Experts say this pressure to be liked and popular online is taking a toll on the mental health of teens with study’s finding a significant link between the amount of time a person spends on social media and depression.