Australia just became the first country in the world to have Facebook likes hidden.
Similar to what Instagram did back in July, Facebook will now privatise the likes, reactions and views you get on your posts.
This means that you won’t be able to see the like or reaction count on your or other people’s posts.
The majority of Australian Facebook users will be included in the trial and it understood that Facebook Watch, Facebook News Feed, Facebook Pages and Groups will be included.
When Instagram removed likes, it stressed that tools such as Insights, Ad Manager and the Paid Partnerships wouldn’t change. The latter would also allow a brand to see the engagement on partnered post.
Facebook has told Gizmodo Australia that it will be similar for Facebook – pages will still be able to see all of their engagement metrics, but they won’t be public.
It will be interesting to see how this is received by pages and if the lack of visibility around popular posts will result in a decrease in engagement and click through for business and publications.
The argument for this change is also similar to when the Instagram trial began – mental health and quality over quantity.
“We want Facebook to be a place where people can connect and share in ways most valuable to them. To that end, in Australia we are testing making the total number of likes, reactions and video view counts across Facebook private. We want to understand from people whether removing the total counts improves their experience, while also not limiting any positive interactions,” said Facebook Australia’s Director of Policy, Mia Garlick, in an emailed statement to Gizmodo Australia.
“We want our platform to be a place for meaningful interactions with friends and family, and continue to invest in tools that support people’s well-being. In this test people, businesses, and creators can still see how many likes their content receives, but they will not be able to see how many likes others’ posts have received.”
It’s unclear how long the test period will be, but it will most likely be a substantial amount of time. The Instagram like removal test kicked off in July and is still ongoing in Canada, Brazil, Australia, NZ, Japan, Italy, Ireland.
Facebook has stated that it has received positive feedback from Instagram users.
At the present time Australia is the only country to be testing like removal on Facebook.
This post has been updated to include clarification around how these changes will impact Facebook Pages.