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Technology Facebook experiments with hiding "like" counts

22:55  27 september  2019
22:55  27 september  2019 Source:   cbsnews.com

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Facebook used to be a place where you could freely share moments from your life with your peers, but once the network grew into the behemoth we know it as The new interface still shows you the three most common reactions to a post and which of your friends like it. You could tap the emoji to see the

As per the company, hiding Like counter on News Feed posts would be used in order to avert users’ from jealousy and discourage them from self-censorship. Reverse engineering master Jane Manchun Wong first saw Facebook prototyping the hidden Like counts in its Android app.

How many Facebook likes did that post get? If you're using the network in Australia, you won't know, starting today.

a close up of a logo: A Facebook Like Button logo is seen at t© Afp / AFP/Getty Images A Facebook Like Button logo is seen at t

Facebook is testing an effort to hide the public "like" counter on posts in the news feed, it said on Thursday. The change applies to posts from friends and pages as well as paid ads. The experiment is running only in Australia for now, with Facebook saying it is unsure if it will expand to other countries.

The company plans to test whether the change will "improve people's experiences," according to a statement provided to CBS News. A company spokesman added that Facebook wanted users to feel comfortable posting information, part of which included focusing on the quality of the posts and not on how much attention they receive.

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Facebook could soon start hiding the Like counter on News Feed posts to protect users’ from envy and dissuade them from self-censorship. When we asked Facebook , the company confirmed to TechCrunch that it’s considering testing removal of Like counts . However it’s not live for users yet.

For years, internet health advocates have pushed Facebook to stop prioritizing Like counts , arguing that the metrics have a negative impact on Instagram, the photo-sharing site owned by Facebook , also began hiding some Likes and other metrics this year as part of an experiment intended to make

Individual users will still be able to access a list of people who have reacted to their posts, but Facebook will no longer display a count of total reactions.

a screenshot of a cell phone: On left, a sample Facebook post. On right, the same post as seen in Australia, where the company is testing a feature to hide © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. On left, a sample Facebook post. On right, the same post as seen in Australia, where the company is testing a feature to hide "like" counts to the public.

Health advocates have long pushed Facebook to hide "like" counts, noting that the tool encourages attention-seeking and potentially extreme content on the platform. A 2016 UCLA study found that teenagers are heavily influenced by the number of "likes" on a post, and are more likely to engage with a post if many other people have already done so.

Since the feature was introduced a decade ago, accruing "likes" has become an obsession in some quarters. An entire influence industry has sprung up, geared toward helping people and companies increase their online influence and grow their number of "likes," sometimesfraudulently.

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Facebook 's experiment in hiding like counts was first uncovered earlier this month by the reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong. But Facebook and Instagram aren't the only platforms to weigh the effects of like counts on the mental health of its users.

The experiment is running only in Australia for now, with Facebook saying it is unsure if it will expand to other countries. The company plans to test Facebook -owned Instagram is already hiding " like " counts in six countries, betting the change will make for a less anxiety-inducing experience on the app.

If the Australia experiment goes widespread, it could potentially affect the ability of Facebook influencers, who rely on being able to motivate large numbers of online followers, to make money off their activities.

Facebook-owned Instagram is already hiding "like" counts in six countries, betting the change will make for a less anxiety-inducing experience on the app.

But Facebook commands a much larger user base, with 2.3 billion people using the platform at least once a month. It's also the most popular platform for certain types of influential content, including propaganda and disinformation, according to a report released Friday by the University of Oxford.

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