Will Like Counts Be Hidden on Facebook, Too?

The social network is running a test similar to Instagram’s

Vanity metrics continue to fall out of favor photoman/iStock

Facebook’s test of removing like counts on Instagram received mixed reactions, but apparently not enough backlash to slow the experimentation train.

A spokesperson for the social network confirmed Tuesday that it is considering hiding like counts on Facebook, as well.

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO of social measurement platform Socialbakers, said in an email, “Overall, we believe this will drive more trust in metrics associated with content, both paid and organic. An increase in trust is likely to lead to an increase in spend by brands—a win-win for both Facebook and marketers. Essentially, they are trying to prevent user behavior that drives engagement just by looking at the number of likes, rather than by consuming the content.”

Developer and blogger Jane Manchun Wong uncovered the test in the code for Facebook’s Android application.

She said in a blog post that mirroring the test on Instagram, only the creator of the post sees its like and Reaction count. People can see the list of people who liked or reacted to the post, but not the totals.

This information is still visible on comments, Wong added.

Joline McGoldrick, senior vice president of data and insights at Facebook Marketing Partner and creative technology platform VidMob, said in an email, “Our research shows that people, especially Generation Z, are changing how they use social—it’s not just for social interactions, which is changing, too, but it’s also for consuming content like news, shopping or sharing things directly or as members of a group. Removing the like button is an adaptation to the changes in how audiences are using and see the role of social. It’s no longer just about validation: It’s about content discovery, commerce and socializing with like-minded groups.”

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.