Facebook is considering removing “like” counts from News Feed posts in an effort to bring a bit of peace and tranquility to the minds of its users.
Code uncovered this week by high-profile app researcher Jane Manchun Wong suggests Facebook is looking to test the system within its Android app.
The social networking giant later confirmed to TechCrunch that it is indeed looking into the idea of hiding like counts, though it’s yet to begin testing the system with users.
Facebook-owned Instagram is already hiding like counts for some users in a trial spanning seven countries, among them Canada, Australia, and Ireland. Discussing the idea a few months ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he wants people to be “less interested in how many likes a post gets, and focus more on connecting with other people.”
If Facebook conducts a test similar to Instagram’s, you’ll be able to see how many people have liked your own posts, but you won’t be able to see the number of likes other people’s posts have received. The hope is that this will help to reduce feelings of envy and inadequacy in people who are particularly sensitive to such data.
If the system works to reduce those negative feelings, there’s a chance that it could also stop users from fretting over the number of likes that their own posts receive, which in some cases can lead to the user deleting an entry.
There’s been a huge amount of research into how social media affects the mental health of those who use it, with many studies suggesting it can lead to feelings of anxiety, envy, and depression caused by the perception that others appear to be having a better time.
But many users are also able to find plenty of positives with services like Facebook and Instagram, with people reporting closer connections and valuable support from friends, among other benefits.
There’s no telling whether Facebook will go ahead and test the idea of hiding likes. We’ve reached out to the company for more information and will update this article if we hear back.
Still, if you find social media leaves you feeling more crappy than happy, then how about eliminating the services from your daily life forever? Digital Trends has created handy guides showing you how to delete Facebook and Instagram (and Twitter and Snapchat, while we’re here), giving you more time to do other things that you enjoy.