In the social media era, it is believed that more and more individuals are likely chasing likes than chasing great content.
The Facebook owned company is taking a step it believes would help users by hiding the number of likes and video views each post gets, so the rest of the world can’t tell how popular it is. Account owners will still be able to see the likes and video views their posts have gotten, but the public won’t.
The creative idea stems from the fact that users’ mental health is a primary sector that social media companies monitor. Another popular social platform Twitter is exploring whether to put likes and retweets behind a user tap in an effort to make conversations easier to follow.
Other big tech companies are also taking steps to help users curtail their screen time by introducing various emotional well-being activities, such as deep breathing exercises and practicing gratitude.
In July, 2019 Instagram first rolled out its test of hiding like counts in Canada, and followed it up with a rollout in some other countries like Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Ireland, Italy and Japan. The test means the number of ‘likes’ is no longer published publicly and is only available to the user.
“For organic posts in the test, we show social context (XX and others) when it’s available, based on who has already liked the post and other factors,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
Mia Garlic a Facebook Australia and New Zealand Director of policy also said “We are now rolling the test out to Australia so we can learn more about how this can benefit people’s experiences on Instagram, and whether this change can help people focus less on ‘likes’ and more on telling their story.
The companies with these steps hope to promote their businesses believing that reduction of the stress level that comes with living online isn’t simply about the health of users but also know that dialing down the pressure could be good for their businesses.
After all, if users don’t view social network as a positive place, it could make them disgruntled about logging back onto the sites.
Facebook said it’s excited by their test results. Interviews with a handful of people participating in the test suggest that some users think hiding likes will improve their mental health.
Others worry it’ll lead to a drop in user engagement, making it harder for them to promote products they market on Instagram.
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