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It seems we’re the guinea pigs for Facebook’s latest experiment, as they’re removing the like counter on posts in the name of our mental wellbeing. Sure, Jan.
Mark the day on the calendar, as today, Facebook has pushed the like counter to extinction. Starting with our problematic country, Facebook will start hiding the number of likes on posts, although the original poster will still be able to see it.
Why? Jealousy. That’s why.
While it’s not particularly pioneering (Instagram kicked off a similar trial in April), Facebook hopes it’ll save us, from us.
“We are running a limited test where like, reaction, and video view counts are made private across Facebook” a Facebook spokesperson told Tech Crunch. “We will gather feedback to understand whether this change will improve people’s experiences.”
As the above image illustrates, the comment counter will still remain, and not knowing the numbers of a post could theoretically remove the angst one feels when one’s baby bump/nuptial announcement/anti-consumerist rant performs poorly by comparison. Facebook also hopes that this will reduce herd mentality, where one likes another’s post because it is popular. Which seems odd, as vapid click popularity is what made the platform popular in the first place. I’m old enough to remember the hideousness of early Facebook, where open friend ranking was popular, and your place in the pecking order (a feature removed due to a security breach) was abundantly clear.
They were harsh days, but at least you knew where you stood, and when someone was angry with you. A study by Berlin’s Humboldt-Universität, “Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to Users’ Life Satisfaction?” discovered that the “intensity of passive following is likely to reduce users’ life satisfaction in the long-run, as it triggers upward social comparison and invidious emotions.”
Clearly, Facebook is attempting to thrust our well-being in spotlight, cynically, making it part of their brand. Which is fairly ironic, as they’ve hooked us on dopamine and validation. Sell our personal data, sure. Spy on us if you must, but don’t pretend you care about what you’re doing to us, Mark.
Please like this post. I need it to live.