Facebook removing likes
At the end of 2020 and since the new year, Facebook has been undergoing a major design overhaul by removing likes on post and replacing with reactions. One of the main differences is that they removed the 'like' button from public pages. So, artists, brands, and public figures won't have the popularity counter visible.
There are several reasons why this change has come into play now. It's part of Facebook's updated UI and an easier-to-follow navigation system. The news feed will now be the point of focus for pages. Hence, conversations can take the spotlight, rather than emphasizing which brand has more likes than another.
Facebook says, on the removal of likes, that it's getting rid of them to "simplify the way people connect with their favourite pages." The social media giant says followers of a page, rather than people who have liked it, represent the people who receive updates from pages. This helps give public figures a stronger indication of their fanbase.
But what does this mean for consumers?
We could now see stronger communities based on shared interests forming on Facebook. This allows consumers to interact with the page owners and other followers. "Likes" can be seen as a passive way consumers interact with individuals often liking a page without engaging with it. Focusing on followers and conversation would help build communities and benefit the page owners as they would be able to analyse their fanbase and grow their business by learning more about their audience.
One thing that has remained the same is that pages will continue to feature the verified badge. This helps with safety in the community. This is to say that pages aren't duplicated without authenticity.
Facebook says: "We continue expanding the visibility of a verified badge to make it easier to identify posts and comments from authentic pages and profiles. A verified page's comment on another page's public post may appear higher in the comments section and be visible in the news feed."
Facebook and Instagram (owned by the former) have begun gradual removal of likes
They will be rolling this out to all users in a few months. Another reason is to support the mental health movement. Removing likes from a page may significantly reduce users' sense of competition. Hence, they can focus on growing their brand.
Although this move has many positives, the influencer community believes it will be negatively affected. Not being able to view likes and subsequently the influencer's popularity, there's a potential for a decrease in engagement. This negatively impact revenue.
The effects of removing likes and changing Facebook's UI are measured once they fully integrate it into the social media channel. But, we can expect to see more focused communities arise due to the changes. This will help consumers connect with the things they like, which is more important now than ever due to the pandemic.