Facebook may hide Like counts

The Like button and its associated counter have become a quick and easy way to judge the popularity of Facebook posts and online content. But now the social network is considering hiding the Like counter.

Reverse engineering of the Facebook app revealed that Facebook is experimenting with the idea of keeping the number of Likes content has a secret, and it comes after the company introduced the same policy on Instagram.

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The experiment was discovered by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, who has reverse-engineered a number of popular apps to discover various secrets over the years. Facebook has since confirmed to TechCrunch that it is toying with hiding Like counts. Wong shared news of her findings on Twitter as well as on her blog

The move suggests that reaction and results of hiding the Like count on Instagram were positive, and Wong says on her blog:

Currently, with this unreleased feature, the like/reaction count is hidden from anyone other than the creator of the post, just like how it works on Instagram. The list of people who liked/reacted will still be accessible, but the amount will be hidden.

Interestingly, likes/reaction counts on comments are not yet hidden for now. But this could be due to the nature of this feature being in an early stage of development. As always, things will be polished eventually.

Facebook has increasingly shown an interest in the mental health of its users, and there has been much speculation that chasing Likes on social networks is causing problems for people, particularly younger users. The idea is that by simply stripping away Like numbers, the pressure to hit ever larger targets is reduced.

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