New York (CNN Business) – Facebook and Instagram are giving all users the option to hide the ‘Like’ or likes audiences on your posts, which could alter the core dynamic of social media platforms where like counts are seen as a sign of a person’s influence and popularity.
The social media giant has been testing the option for users to hide ‘Like’ counts since 2019, a very particular feature on Facebook, as a way to make Facebook and Instagram less stressful to use.
Starting this Wednesday, all users can choose whether people can see the amount of ‘likes’ they receive on their posts and can also choose whether they want to see how many people’ liked ‘other users’ posts, said Facebook in a post on your blog.
Facebook has been working to combat growing criticism that social media platforms can be detrimental to the well-being of users and society. However, even with Wednesday’s announcement, hiding likes on Facebook and Instagram is optional and not by default, so it’s unclear how many users will actually take this step.
“What we heard from people and experts was that not seeing the counts of likes was beneficial for some and annoying for others, particularly since people use the counts of likes to get an idea of what is trending or popular, so we give you the option to choose, “Facebook said.
If users choose not to share the number of people who ‘liked’ their posts, viewers will be able to see a list of who liked the post, but not how many they got. The person who posted the photo will still be able to see the number of likes, even if it is not publicly displayed.
The company said the feature will allow users to “focus on the photos and videos that are shared, rather than the number of likes the posts receive.”
Facebook and Instagram users can also choose not to see how many people liked other’s posts while scrolling through their feed, a feature that can be activated by visiting the “new posts” section within the settings option, the company said.
Some users who had the option to hide ‘likes’ in advance on Instagram told CNN Business that this could help improve well-being on the platform. However, for influencers of social networks that have built in-app businesses, demonstrating your own ‘Like’ counts, and comparing them to other users’ posts can be important to secure collaborations with lucrative brands.
Facebook said on its blog that it is funding “outside research on people’s experiences on Instagram and how we can improve our policies and products to support our community,” adding that it is accepting proposals from academics and organizations non-profit for such studies.