Facebook has responded to concerns that feedback devices such as the ‘like’ button, emoji reactions and view tallies may be undermining the mental wellbeing of its users by opting to hide such metrics on other’s posts in a new trial.
Beginning in Australia from today the initiative will ensure that only the post author will be able to view such engagement devices, with such responses hidden from view to all others.
The radical rethink is borne out of studies conducted by mental health professionals which found such tools can spark an unhealthy competitive streak in many, as people strive to keep up with the Jones’s
Facebook Australia’s director of policy Mia Garlick said: “We’ve had positive feedback from a lot of the anti-bullying groups and mental health organisations that we work with.
“It is just taking that number out of the equation so that people can focus on the quality of their interactions and the quality of the content rather than on the number of likes or reactions.”
By restoring the focus of status updates to the content itself rather than the noise it generates that more people will choose to share their thoughts and interests.
The changes follow a similar change at Instagram which began in July with Facebook stressing that business users can continue to draw on existing metrics.