Social networks are trying to row back on some of the unintended consequences of their key mechanics, with ‘likes’ (or at least the public display of how many times posts have been liked) particularly under the microscope.

Instagram has been testing hiding likes in some countries, and now it seems Facebook – which popularised the ‘like’ in the first place – may be following its subsidiary’s lead.

Facebook has confirmed to TechCrunch that it’s testing removing like counts from posts, suggesting that this may suggest that the Instagram tests have gone well. In that case, people can still see how many times their own posts have been liked, but those counts won’t be visible to their friends.

There’s a question about what this will mean for people and companies with Facebook pages: and the importance of the ‘like’ metric for their purposes. That said, other kinds of engagement (and most importantly, conversions) should already be more important metrics, so any decline in public visibility for likes on Facebook may not be that big a deal for marketing.

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