After many experiments with the ‘like’ counts on posts, Facebook and Instagram have now decided to let users choose whether to display or not ‘like’ counts on each of their updates.
“You may have noticed that we’ve been testing hiding like counts on Instagram for a while. Today, we’re announcing that everyone on Instagram and Facebook will now have the option to hide their public like counts, so they can decide what works for them,” Instagram said in its rollout announcement.
“We tested hiding ‘like’ counts to see if it might depressurize people’s experience on Instagram. 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,” it added.
How the new ‘hide’ feature works
Starting today, users will have the option to hide like counts on all posts in their feed. They will also have the option to hide like counts on their own posts, so others can’t see how many likes their posts get.
Users can hide like counts on others’ posts by visiting the new Posts section in Settings. This control applies to all the posts in their feed.
“You can also choose to hide like counts before sharing a post. You can turn this setting on or off, even after it goes live. People want more flexibility, so we thought it would be important to give people the option. In the next few weeks you will see both of these controls come to Facebook.”
“Changing the way people view like counts is a big shift. We’ll continue working on new ways to give people more choice, so they feel good about the time they spend on our apps,” the company added.
Facebook and Instagram are also looking for more ways to give people control over their experience. They had announced new tools to allow people to filter offensive content from their DMs and gave people ways to control what they see and share on Facebook’s News Feed – like the Feed Filter Bar, Favorites Feed and Choose Who Can Comment.
Facebook and Instagram working with experts
Facebook and Instagram said that they were funding more external research about people’s experiences on Instagram, and how it can improve their policies and products to support their community. “We’re currently requesting research proposals from global academics and non-profits. If you’re interested you can find more information here on how to submit.”
In India, they recently collaborated with the Young Leaders for Active Citizenship (YLAC) to initiate the fifth edition of the ‘Counter Speech Fellowship’, a program that engages creative teens to use the power of visual storytelling to start meaningful conversations on issues that are important to young citizens around the world. This includes the themes of bullying, diversity, mental wellbeing and gender equality.