Facebook Inc’s Instagram is considering removing the number of “likes” on posts, a move that mirrors efforts by social media companies like Twitter Inc to make their platforms healthier places for their users.
“Later this week, we’re running a test in Canada that removes the total number of likes on photos and video views,” Facebook said in a blog post Tuesday ahead of the company’s F-8 developer conference. “We are testing this because we want your followers to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”
In recent years, social media companies have come under fire for contributing to technology addiction and aiding the spread of abusive information. According to a recent study published in Psychological Science, the same brain circuits that are activated by eating chocolate and winning money are triggered when teenagers see a large number of “likes” on their photos. The teens were also more likely to click on types of photographs that had more “likes” on them.
Twitter released a prototype app earlier this year that makes the number of likes and retweets less visible in tweet threads, in an effort to make the service more conversational by having people focus more on the content, rather than the number of engagements. If a user wants to see the number of likes and retweets on a reply to a conversation, the person will have to click into the individual tweets.