Tuesday 17 September 2019

Facebook considering removing 'like' feature - and some users have already noticed a change

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

Aoife Walsh

Facebook is considering removing their 'like' feature, two months after Instagram rolled out a similar initiative on a trial basis.

The social media giant confirmed to Independent.ie that they are thinking of removing likes on Facebook, but declined to give any further information.

However, some Android users are already noticing the change.

Reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong noticed the 'like' count was hidden from her own posts, writing; "I observed that Facebook has recently begun prototyping this hidden like/reaction count feature in their Android app by reverse-engineering the app and playing with the code underneath.

"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. The list of people who liked/reacted will still be accessible, but the amount will be hidden," she added.

"Interestingly, likes/reaction counts on comments are not yet hidden for now. But this could be due to the nature of this feature being in an early stage of development. As always, things will be polished eventually."

The 'like' button has been a popular feature on the website since it was introduced in 2009. While initially users could 'like' photographs, pages, groups, status updates, and comments, Facebook further developed the feature three years ago by introducing 'reactions'.

This meant users could like a post, or could react with a 'love', 'haha', 'wow', 'sad', or 'angry'.

Facebook-owned app, Instagram announced in July it was rolling out a trial to see whether people prefer a less competitive social media environment by hiding the 'like' count.

At the time, a spokesperson for Instagram said: "“We are testing this because we want followers to focus on the photos and videos shared, not how many likes they get.

“We don’t want Instagram to feel like a competition. We hope to learn whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story.”

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