Sydney – Facebook started hiding the number of “likes” for posts in Australia on Friday in a trial that could be rolled out worldwide.
Users will be blocked from viewing the number of likes, reactions and video views on other people’s posts. However, the account holders will still be able to see how people respond to their own posts.
“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,” Mia Garlick, policy director of Facebook Australia, told Australian newswire agency AAP.
Facebook introduced the “like” button first in February 2009, while other reactions, including “sad” and “angry,” were added in 2016.
More than one billion people use Facebook worldwide. The company has an estimated 16 million users in Australia.
Australia has active “tech-savvy” users of Facebook and Instagram, Garlick said.
“We think this is a great country where we can get some really good feedback about whether this is a valuable experience for people on our services or not,” she said.
In July, Facebook launched a trial to hide “likes” on Instagram, the company’s other major social media platform, in Canada, which was then expanded to Australia, Brazil and several other major markets.