Facebook is “considering” hiding the numbers of likes to others in posts, similar to an experiment it’s doing with company-owned Instagram in several countries.
The idea is to take away the popularity contest of posting, which makes people feel bad when their post doesn’t perform with big numbers. According to Psychology Today, rejection in digital form (not getting many likes) can sting just as much as in the analog world. Among younger users on Instagram, posting becomes a contest to see who can get the most likes.
Facebook wouldn’t add more than that it’s considering the move, but social media lit up with the possibilities.
“Bad thing,” said Facebook user Phil Leigh on Facebook. “‘Likes’ give the poster a way to measure whether her content is useful to others, especially as it is tracked over time.”
Another Facebook user Jeremy Pepper supports it but adds: “Not sure it matters as much on Facebook as it does on Instagram when you think of the audiences.”
“I like the idea of focusing on the content as opposed to the popularity,” says USA TODAY reader David Schwarz, via text. “Maybe focusing on the work will put an emphasis on overlooked articles or pictures.”
Reader Cheryl Wakschlag told us in a text message that she would still post, “but I would be upset about it. The likes are rewarding!”
Instagram is testing the non-visible likes in seven countries, including Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. It told users, “We want your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get.” It added that during the trial, friends wouldn’t be able to see the likes, but the account holder would.
Teylor Veliotis, a student at Fordham University, has blogged about the practice of likes, saying that Instagram shouldn’t be just another stress in our lives. “Maybe if the followers and likes count disappeared from our accounts we would start to actually post for ourselves, and maybe even appreciate the art that can be found on the app…A social media platform without superficial stress and competitiveness would be nice for a change.”
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Separately, Facebook said Tuesday that it will no longer use face recognition technology to suggest that friends tag you in photos or videos. Instead, Facebook is pushing the tagging of you in other photos to an opt-in process.
“We’ve made the steps to update your settings clearer and you can opt to leave your setting off right in the notice, as opposed to having to go to a separate screen,” Facebook said in a blog post. “If you do nothing, face recognition will remain off for you.”
Facebook added that its face recognition technology “still does not recognize you to strangers. We don’t share your face recognition information with third parties.”
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