Facebook is considering removing publicly viewable "likes" for users’ posts, just as it has begun doing on Instagram recently.
The social media giant confirmed to TechCrunch that it is considering a test of "like" counts removal, but did not give a reason for the move.
Jane Manchun Wong, the reverse engineering expert, first spotted that Facebook has recently begun tests on hiding the "like/reaction" count feature in its Android app.
On her website, Wong said: "Currently, with this unreleased feature, the like/reaction count is hidden from anyone other than the creator of the post, just like how it works on Instagram. The list of people who liked/reacted will still be accessible, but the amount will be hidden."
In July, Facebook-owned Instagram announced that it was testing hiding "likes" in several markets, including Australia and Ireland, because it wants to "remove the pressure" on social media users to produce popular content.
Removing "likes" has divided industry opinion over how it will affect the growing market for influencers, for whom Instagram is a key platform. While some influencer marketing specialists describe "likes" as "vanity metrics", the change could also incentivise brands to put more paid media behind sponsored posts.
Marketers shopping for influencers, meanwhile, will still be able to see an Instagram creator’s follower count, but this is a poor sign of how much people engage with their content. The sheer volume of celebrities and reality TV stars being followed by fake accounts has also been well-documented.
This article first appeared on PRWeek sister title Campaign