Facebook was spotted earlier this month to be testing concealing the like counts for a particular post from a user's friends. Reverse engineering by Jane Manchun Wong made it possible to uncover the test, which was secretly conducted on Facebook's Android app, and it now appears this change is reaching more people, at least in Australia.
A representative from Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch that it is testing, albeit in a limited scope, hiding the number of reactions, likes, and video views from the public down under. A post's owner will still be able to see the total number of likes and reactions, of course.
The goal is to improve the users' sense of well-being and their overall experience without compromising virtual engagement, Facebook says. The change is being eyed for a wider rollout to more countries, although the social networking giant did not say when. That will depend on whether the test succeeds in terms of making users feel better sharing content on Facebook.
The pilot is similar to an Instagram experiment conducted in April of this year, in which the like counts from a user's followers and anyone else were hidden, made visible only to the owner. The goal of that test was to spur genuine engagement between real people and brands.
Like Instagram's, Facebook's test still displays at least one name of a friend who reacts to your post, followed by "others." The number of comments will remain visible as well, and it's interesting to see how this change will affect the interaction between users and brands or services on the platform.