Facebook 'like' count removed to improve 'user well-being' in trial Down Under

Facebook 'like' counts are on their way out for some users as the social media company begins a new test looking to improve "user well-being".

In July, Facebook - which owns both Facebook and Instagram - trialed removing publicly visible 'like' counts on Instagram

The trial has been running ever since in multiple countries - including New Zealand - and Facebook told Newshub it has received a "positive response" from users.

Now a similar test is rolling out on Facebook, with "like/reaction counts and video view counts" being removed. The "global test" began in Australia on Friday.

From now on, for those users affected, the counts "will be private and only visible to the author of the post".

A before and after.
A before and after. Photo credit: Facebook.

"This exploration is aimed at improving user well-being and shifting the focus from the quantity of interactions to the quality of interactions on your posts," a statement from Facebook said.

"We don't want Facebook to feel like a competition - we hope to learn whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story."

The social media company said it was a "limited test" and that Facebook and Instagram are "different surfaces" meaning "different data" was likely to come from the tests.

The director of policy at Facebook Australia, Mia Garlick, said: "We want our platform to be a place for meaningful interactions with friends and family, and continue to invest in tools that support people's well-being."

"In this test people, businesses, and creators can still see how many likes their content receives, but they will not be able to see how many likes others' posts have received."