In an announcement, Facebook has now said that it will give users the option to hide the number of likes they get on both their Facebook and Instagram accounts.
The company says that the aim of this change is to “depressurize people’s experience” when using social media and improve the mental health of its users.
Users that decide to use the feature will only see the username of a follower that liked the post with “and others” added, rather than displaying a number.
Facebook has been testing out this feature in several countries since 2019. However, now is the first time it will be rolled out globally.
Social media and mental health
Research has shown that focusing too much on likes can take its toll on social media users’ mental health. But, in tests, Instagram said that it found removing likes had very little impact on people’s behavior and wellbeing.
Additionally, a recent Oxford Internet Institute study on teenagers and social media, also found there was “little association” between social media use and mental health.
Instead, Instagram says that the feature is designed to help “people feel good about the time they spend” on the platform.
“What we heard from people and experts was that not seeing like counts was beneficial for some and annoying to others, particularly because people use like counts to get a sense of what’s trending or popular, so we’re giving you the choice,” the company said in its blog post.
The new feature can be activated by:
- Going to settings
- Entering the new Posts section
- Selecting Hide Like and View Counts
This can be switched on or off at any time, and it means that, even if a user has Like Counts enabled, they will not be able to see the number of likes on accounts that have them hidden.