Just yesterday, Facebook and Instagram launched a feature that enables users to hide like counts. This allows you to hide public “likes” on your posts, potentially revolutionalising the dynamics of social media platforms, since like counts are seen as a sign of a person’s influence.
To toggle this option on Facebook, go to Settings > Advanced Settings > Hide Like and View Counts.
For Instagram, select the three dots in the upper right corner above a post, then hit “Hide Like Count.” This setting can be turned on or off anytime. For those that had their like counts previously hidden on Instagram, you can now choose to show the “likes” by toggling the same setting.
Hiding your like counts
The company has commented that the feature will “let users focus on the photos and videos being shared, instead of how many likes the posts get.”
“Likes” are the currency of Facebook and Instagram. It’s the way people get a sense of what’s trending and popular, what jokes are funny, and how some of us gain recognition. But there has also been mounting criticisms of how social media can be harmful to the well-being of users and is stressful to use.
With that in mind, the company has made it clear that hiding your “likes” will be an option rather than a default. This ensures that social media influencers who have built businesses on the app are still able to thrive and secure brand partnerships, and users are still given a choice.
The feature isn’t new to everyone, though. The test for this feature was first rolled out in 2019, where the number of likes, reactions and video views from posts in Australia could be hidden. The author of the post would be able to see those metrics, but other users won’t.
In a study from 2017, by the Royal Society for Public Health UK, experts have argued that removing a like button or like counts could help reduce anxiety and social pressures for some Facebook and Instagram users.
“We tested hiding like counts to see if it might depressurize people’s experience on Instagram,” says an Instagram spokesperson. “What we heard from people and experts was that not seeing like counts was beneficial for some, and annoying to others, particularly because people use like counts to get a sense for what’s trending or popular, so we’re giving you the choice.”
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