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Facebook to Test Hiding Like Counts

Facebook is getting ready to test whether hiding like counts will make for better conversations: The company will begin to hide the number of likes and other key engagement metrics from posts in Australia this coming Friday, it announced Thursday.

“We are running a limited test where like, reaction, and video view counts are made private across Facebook,” said a Facebook spokesperson in a statement sent to Variety. “We will gather feedback to understand whether this change will improve people’s experiences.

Engadget was first to report news of the test Thursday afternoon.

Facebook is removing these engagement metrics both from personal posts and ads. The company’s hypothesis is that removing likes and similar indicators will help users to judge posts by the quality of the content, as opposed to its popularity.

Authors will still be able to see how many people liked their posts. Facebook will also continue to publish the number of comments a post has received, according to images shared by the company.

There is no word on plans to expand the test to other geographies, but users shouldn’t be too surprised to see it pop up elsewhere as well: This spring, Facebook began to test removing like counts from Instagram posts in Canada, and it has since expanded that test to half a dozen other countries, including Brazil, Japan and Australia.

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