Facebook likes are set to be removed for Australian users in a trial that will roll out from today, similar to recent changes made to the Instagram app.
Our fair nation is the first in the world to test this new feature, which means that you’ll no longer be able to see the number of likes, reactions and views on others’ posts.
Likes will be private and will only be visible to the author of any given post, in line with the way that the Instagram app currently hides them for other users.
Mia Garlick of Facebook Australia said that the changes have been rolled out in consultation with psychologists, to make the app feel less like a competition.
She told the Associated Press:
“We’ve had really positive feedback from a lot of the anti-bullying groups and mental health organisations that we work with. It really is just taking that number out of the equation, so that people can focus on the quality of their interactions and the quality of the content rather than on the number of likes or reactions.”
The Instagram trial has currently rolled out in countries like Canada, Brazil, New Zealand, Japan and Ireland, but Facebook has not yet decided whether this one will either.
Garlick stressed that the changes are not permanent, and both Facebook and Instagram may yet go back to displaying likes, but there is no word yet on when the trial will end:
“We have had some initial positive feedback from the public about the experience (on Instagram), but we’re still just learning and listening to feedback at this stage.”