You will also be able to change whether to hide “likes” on a per-post basis on both platforms. You can hide the like counts in the new Posts section in Settings.
Since 2019, the social media giant has been testing the ability for users to hide like counts, a feature synonymous with Facebook, as a way to make the apps less stressful to use.
The idea to hide Like counts on Facebook’s social networks was focused on depressurising the experience for users. Often, users faced anxiety and embarrassment around their posts if they didn’t receive enough likes to be considered “popular.”
The problem was particularly difficult for younger users who highly value what peers think of them — so much so that they would take down posts that didn’t receive enough like.
Like-chasing on Instagram, especially, also helped create an environment where people posted to gain clout and notoriety, which can be a less authentic experience.
On Facebook, gaining likes or other forms of engagement could also be associated with posting polarizing content that required a reaction.
As a result of this pressure to perform, some users grew hungry for a “Like-free” safer space, where they could engage with friends or the wider public without trying to earn these popularity points. That, in turn, gave rise to a new crop of social networking and photo-sharing apps such as Minutiae, Vero, Dayflash, Oggl and, now, newcomers like Dispo and newly viral Poparazzi.
As of Wednesday, every user can now choose whether people can see the number of likes on his or her own post and also whether to see how many people liked other users’ posts, Facebook said in a blog post today.
Also speaking, Instagram chief, Adam Mosseri said the two platforms will let users shun ‘like’ counts completely or just keep such tallies to themselves.
“People will be able to decide if they want to see like counts or not,” Mosseri said in a briefing.
Tools being added to the services will let users turn off “like” features on individual posts or all of them, according to Mosseri.
He expected small creators trying to win fans to be most averse to eliminating “likes,” since they are typically trying to boost their popularity by showing how many people endorse their posts.
However, Mosseri stated that a test of the option showed that some people shared more posts when the potential for them to be judged by viewers was removed.
Speaking to AFP in April, a Facebook spokesperson said;
In 2019, we started hiding like counts for a small group of people to understand if it lessens some pressure when posting to Instagram. Some people found this beneficial but some still wanted to see like counts so they could track what’s popular.
Mosseri’s comments about hiding “likes” comes as Facebook is facing increasing scrutiny for its possible plans of creating an Instagram for kids.
Speaking about this, the Instagram head expressed that they are still going forward with plans for an Instagram for kids, saying;
I have to believe that it is better for everyone involved to give parents oversight and transparency and control into kids using Instagram than to pretend like they’re not lying about their age today.