After starting to test removing like counts from Instagram posts in several countries, Facebook is considering doing the same on its own app.
Earlier this year, Instagram started testing the removal of public like counts on photos in 7 countries around the world, and everyone started talking about what that would mean for the industry. At the time, Jane Manchun Wong, the engineer who uncovered the change, “was swarmed by hundreds of angry Instagram users” who demanded that she stop rolling it out.
The bad news for them is that Wong doesn’t work at Instagram, so she has no direct control over what is rolled out or not. However, it just goes to show how unpopular a change like this may be among users. And now, it looks like they’ll have one more thing to complain about, as Wong found that Facebook is working on doing the same.
After reverse engineering Facebook’s Android mobile app and “playing with the code underneath,” Wong found that Facebook is working on hiding the specific number of reactions from below posts. Creators of the posts in question still get to see the real count, but it is hidden from anyone else.
Facebook is working to hide like counts, too!https://t.co/WnUrM12aZg
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) September 2, 2019
“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” Wong explains. “The list of people who liked/reacted will still be accessible, but the amount will be hidden.”
For now, the change seems only to affect like/reaction counts on posts and not on their comments, but Wong says this “could be due to the nature of this feature being in an early stage of development.”
If it goes ahead, prepare for some big changes in the way many things work in this industry.