Remember the good old days? Where you’d wanna express some approval of content? In the form of a digital stamp? That you’d add to the accumulation of other users’ approval stampings, so that both producer and the wider Facebook community generally knew that you enjoyed said content?
Well, those days are stopping. They’re gone. New days are on their way.
Facebook may soon start hiding Likes. They already tested a similar move on Instagram a few months ago as a way to help break users’ fixation with getting likes on their pictures. Bar a few disgruntled Like-dependant social media influencers, the change was fairly well received.
If implemented, Facebook posts will no longer show the number of Likes or reactions to the post. The publisher of the post can see a list of people and their reactions, but a number won’t be publicly displayed. The aim is to put less pressure on users and encourage them to share more freely and frequently.
Unlike the overnight upheaval on Instagram, this time we’ve been given more time to grapple with the abduction of our hard-earned Likes… Still, many questions remain unanswered; like, how is one supposed to inform others of their social coolness, dude? Shoutout to reverse engineering master Jane Manchun Wong who spotted the hidden Likes count code embedded in the back-end of the Android Facebook app and had Facebook confirm the report.
Why the change? Facebook declined to share its exact motives, any schedule for starting testing, or results from the Instagram Like hiding tests. But if there’s one thing we know Facebook definitely cares about, it’s ad revenue. Facebook needs our eyes looking at and engaging with its platform to sell our attention to advertisers.
By removing the ever-present ‘Would this post get enough Likes?’ consideration, removing Likes should encourage a more participatory audience, and help Facebook blossom into the inter-galactic, omnipotent social-networking/news/finance/entertainment/marketplace/automobile repair/indoor gymnasium empire extravaganza that Zuckerberg hankers for at night.