Starting today, all users on Facebook and Instagram will have the option to hide the number of “likes” that their posts receive from the public. This new feature also allows users to choose whether they can view the like counts on all posts in their personal feed.
This move has been criticised by many influencers, who rely on like counts in order to secure new brand deals.
After testing the feature in select countries back in 2019 to “give people control over their experience” while using their social media platforms, Facebook is implementing this update in response to the constant criticism and research that features such as likes may affect a person’s mental health.
While it is clear that this decision has a focus on young people and creators and not so much on organizations and businesses; influencers and brands will still be able to utilize the platforms in a similar way.
Facebook and Instagram Crack Down on Fake Accounts
Alongside the announcement for opting-in or opting out of “likes”, Facebook and Instagram will also be rolling out measures in a bid to weed out fake accounts on its social networking platform.
This new “About This Account” feature will allow users to not only see the country where the account is located, but also any username changes in the past year and any ads the account is currently running.
Now, alongside a username, Instagram applicants will need to provide full legal names as well as a copy of any business identification when creating an account.
Instagram also said it plans to significantly boost the number of verified accounts for public figures, celebrities and global brands.
Should Brands Care About Facebook and Instagram Likes?
While “likes” and anonymity may be a thing of the past on Facebook and Instagram, follower counts are here to stay. Many users will typically look at other people’s follower lists to build up their own networks, so the company said it won’t pursue the option to get rid of followers for now.
Users will still have the ability, however, to “like” content as they normally would, so this update will not affect the Facebook and Instagram algorithms. This means that popular posts will still be positioned at the top of feeds.
While likes have become a metric used to calculate popularity and virality, it has been criticized for disregarding quality.
According to Instagram’s head of global policy programmes, Carolyn Merrell, Instagram had been working closely with brands during its trial phase in order to understand how this would impact brand-creator relationships.
For influencers who decide not to disclose likes on certain posts, it will be more challenging for brands to build those relationships. However, brands that are more advanced when it comes to metrics are digging past the like count, and there will still be other analytics that are available elsewhere.
If your business or brand is considering how to best take advantage of these new Facebook and instagram updates, call Brandstar Digital Marketing today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help with your social media and influencer marketing efforts.