Facebook ‘considering hiding number of likes on posts’

Facebook is considering a trial that would hide the number of likes posts receive, according to a report.

The tech giant has been running a similar experiment on Instagram in some countries this year, hiding likes and video views in a bid to “remove pressure” and shift the focus to “sharing the things” its users enjoy.

That Instagram trial only applies to some accounts in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Australia, Japan and New Zealand, but the social media firm appears to be looking into doing the same on its main Facebook platform.

TechCrunch reports that Facebook is considering the move after an app researcher uncovered code indicating the change is in the works.

The technology news website said the social network is thinking about “testing removal of like counts”, but that the trial is not yet live for users.

Facebook declined to comment when contacted by Sky News.

The report comes just a few months after social media companies were warned that they may have to turn off the like function for British children to ensure their safety online.

Back in April, proposed guidelines from the Information Commissioner’s Office said tactics such as the like function are used to keep under-18s online for longer and were potentially damaging.

Last week, a poll carried out for the Royal Society For Public Health (RSPH) found that the like button was considered one of the most toxic elements of social media.

The findings came ahead of Scroll Free September, a month-long campaign by the RSPH encouraging people to take a break from social media.

RSPH chief executive Shirley Cramer said: “While we welcome steps by industry to mitigate harms related to social media use, it is notable that two of the most toxic elements of platforms are the like button and push notifications, elements specifically created by social media companies themselves.”