Facebook Set to Hide Total Like Counts on Posts as a Move Toward User Mental Well-being

The days of stressing over how many likes your post received may be over. 

Facebook announced it will be following its subsidiary Instagram’s lead of hiding total like counts on posts within the platform. After Instagram rolled out this change in designated regions earlier this year, Facebook is set to begin a test run in Australia this week.

This change may seem small, but it is a step in the direction of Facebook’s broader goal of working to improve user mental well-being within their platforms. Research shows that users perceive like counts as a sort of validation — which can have negative effects on users mental health.

After Instagram tested hiding total like counts in Canada and then Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand earlier this year, they did not publish data on the results of the tests. However, judging from Facebook’s move to follow suit, it seems as though it had positive effects.

Facebook is moving towards focusing on the mental well-being of users and the removal of like counts — which are believed to increase social comparison and its associated negative impacts — may be a step in the right direction.

In an interview with CBS News in June, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said, ”We don’t want Instagram to be such a competition. We want it to be a place where people spend more of their energy connecting with the people that they love and the things that they care about.” 

This change does not mean that users are totally blind to who has liked your photos. Users are still able to scroll through the people that have liked their posts,  they will just not be able to find a total number of likes as a number anywhere on the app.