Facebook has commenced a trial in Australia where likes are hidden from third party viewers. Facebook’s aim is to use this trial in order to “gather feedback to understand whether this change will improve people’s experiences.”
We’ve seen this feature via our team in Australia, and the user experience is quite similar to Instagram’s recent “hiding likes” changes. When users try to find the number of likes on a post, it says: “Only <Page Owner> can see the total number of reactions to this post“.
This is an excellent development, that should have the resultant effect of removing useless vanity metrics from the conversations of business leaders. As has become a catchcry at PENSO, “the moment your bank lends your business money on the basis of your Facebook likes, then let’s talk”. This should also act as an effective handbrake on the “influencer marketing” industry, which adds absolutely no value whatsoever.
By all means, use social media as an advertising platform, as a data platform, and as a content distribution mechanism, but the only metric that should matter is REACH. Not likes.