Facebook makes 'like count' choice global

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After trials held in Australia, Facebook and Instagram say they will give platform users all over the world the option to hide the 'like counts' on their posts.

Facebook used Australia and a handful of other countries to trial the measure on Instagram from July 2019 and Facebook from September 2019.

It was introduced in an attempt to "remove pressure" on users of the digital platforms.

Facebook and Instagram announced on Thursday morning that global users would now have the option to hide their like counts.

Users can choose to hide like counts on all posts on their social media feed, or solely on their own posts, but will not be forced to do so.

The concealment of like counts was uniform during the trial period.

"What we heard from people and experts was that not seeing like counts was beneficial for some and annoying to others, particularly because people use like counts to get a sense for what's trending or popular," Instagram said in a statement.

"So we're giving you the choice."

A post's like count will remain visible to the author of the social media content, while businesses on the platforms will retain access to page metrics.

Instagram said it had also created new tools to filter offensive content from a user's 'direct message' list of private messages.

"This is a step forward in giving people more control over their experience on Instagram and Facebook," Facebook Australia and New Zealand policy head Mia Garlick said in a statement.

Facebook has previously expressed its hope that the measure would allow users to be more comfortable with sharing on the platform rather than feeling they are in a competition for 'likes'.

© AAP 2021