This column first appeared in the September 22, 2019 edition of The Vindicator:
We like when people “like” our posts on social media. For others, however, the “likes” their posts receive, or more specifically don’t receive, could lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.
Apparently, Facebook wants to help alleviate those feelings.
In what appears to be a response to studies linking social media use with mental health issues, Facebook is testing a small but significant platform change that would hide like counts from some users.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term “like counts,” it simply refers to the number next to the thumbs-up, heart and other reaction icons that appear under Facebook posts. Click on the like count of a public post and you’ll find a breakdown of the six reaction types: like, love, haha, wow, sad and angry. The more our friends “like” something — that is, the more they react to our content with one of those icons — the more our like counts increase.
Jane Manchun Wong, a software engineer who researches yet-to-be-released features on major social media platforms, uncovered evidence of Facebook’s test this summer...
Read the rest of this column in The Vindicator at https://www.vindy.com/life/lifestyles/2019/09/facebook-post-like-counts-could-vanish/
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor and chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator newspaper on social media and society.