Facebook tests hiding like counts

Facebook tests hiding like counts

Society
01 October 2019, 14:54 78
The famous "like for like" motto of Azerbaijan’s local Facebook users is gradually becoming a thing of the past. Popular social media platform, Facebook intends to hide the "like" count visible on posts, following Instagram. The experiment first kicked off in Australia. The pressure of perfectionism on social media has made the social media platform take measures in this area.
Facebook, following the same steps taken by Instagram, has started to hide the number of "likes" and comments on social media posts in Australia. The number of "likes" will be visible only to the post's author. According to a user named Jane Manchun Wong, Facebook is likely to gradually implement this feature. If this becomes a serious barrier to users and reduces ad revenue, then it will be canceled. Mia Garlick, Facebook's Head of Communications and Policy for Australia and New Zealand said Facebook is attempting to reduce social pressure among users. Garlick noted that by taking the numbers out of the equation, "people can focus on the quality of their interactions and the quality of the content rather than on the number of likes or reactions." She also said that Facebook had consulted mental health experts and several anti-bullying groups over this change. Nevertheless, though this step was welcomed by some users, it was met with severe negative reaction by social media phenomena. As of July, Instagram has hidden the visibility of "likes" on social media posts in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand.
Given that there are many Instagram and Facebook users in Azerbaijan, we decided to investigate the matter. While some of us use social media solely for entertainment, there are still many who make a living on these platforms. Are local users ready for this change? Can this innovation be applied in Azerbaijan?
 
Farid Pardashunas, a digital marketing expert and creator of technote.az said that this feature is still being tested in some countries and has not been fully approved.  "Instagram also tried to apply this feature before. The main goal is to prevent people posting just for the number of "likes". I think this step may affect many bloggers and influencers. Facebook is trying to create better content by hiding the number of "likes". But as I said, this decision is still being tested. The results will decide whether or not to implement it globally which will probably take 1-2 years. Instagram is applying this feature in most countries, and it will soon be applied in others. I do not believe that hiding the number of "likes" will affect people who make money on social media. Hiding the "like" count will help prevent the spread of fake news. Sometimes people decide whether or not to read a post based on the number of "likes" it has received. The revenue issue depends on the algorithm running in the background,” he said.
 
According to IT specialist Rashad Aliyev, social media users have become obsessed with receiving "likes". "People use different methods to gain more recognition. In this regard, this step should be positively assessed. From now on, sharing will no longer be for the sake of "likes". The problem is that in order to fill this gap, people will start searching for other social networks. Therefore, some other functionalities should be applied instead. Nowadays everything depends on figures. Business loves statistics and figures. "Likes" and the number of followers are statistical indicators. Hiding this feature may not be welcomed by users. But maybe the quality of social media posts can be improved after this application,” the specialist noted.
 
Expert Shaig Muradov noted that Facebook is currently piloting this project in some countries. "If all goes well, then this function will be applied all over the world, including Azerbaijan. If the results are not successful, of course, an appropriate decision will be made. Early test results reveal this step to be successful. On social media, most people share pictures similar to posts that have many likes. For example, if someone receives many "likes" for posting a picture with coffee, others also imitate this. Those who receive less "likes" try to share more. Facebook made this decision, taking into account all these psychological aspects. Management also made this decision due to influencers. Facebook’s management cannot control the money paid for their ads. Recently, Instagram banned advertisements promoting toxic diet products on its platform. The manufacturers of these products were therefore forced to use the services of influencers. Ads for these products posted by influencers disappear when detected. Facebook wants to supervise everything on its own. I believe that if this trend is welcomed, it will soon be applied worldwide. The approach to this issue in Azerbaijan will likely be debatable. This decision will affect influencers more because advertisers will no longer see the feedback to their posts and this will create distrust. On the other hand, the decision is a positive one in terms of increasing originality. Facebook and Instagram do not have great alternatives and competitors. Therefore, even if users are dissatisfied, they do not have other options. The company is also sensitive to this issue. For that reason, it is experimenting this in some countries. If the results are negative, of course this function will be canceled. Previously, users were also dissatisfied with certain innovations but over time users had to accept these updates. Before applying these innovations, serious research is conducted. The psychology of the masses is definitely taken into account. I think that if this innovation is implemented, users will get used to it sooner or later,” the expert said.
 
Shabnam Mehdizade