The case of the disappearing Facebook likes

17/Nov/2016 · 1 MINS READ

A couple of weeks ago, we noticed that on some brand pages, the like count (on the right-hand side of the page on desktop and under the main menu on mobile) had totally disappeared, before mysteriously resurfacing the next day.

We couldn’t find any news or comments about this strange phenomenon until Meet Edgar reported the same issue in their latest blog post. So it wasn’t just us experiencing a glitch – it looks like Facebook has begun to experiment with hiding like counts on some brand pages.

In many ways, brands have seen this coming. As Meet Edgar’s blog post points out, there are millions of fake profiles out there, and there have been numerous cases of brands engaging in somewhat questionable behaviours in attempts to increase their page likes, which means that the value Facebook attribute to likes begins to deteriorate.

Over the past couple years, brands have been reminded time and time again that audience size shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all measurement used for social media. Due to Facebook’s ever-decreasing organic reach, brands need to pay to advertise to their own audience, regardless of the number of page fans they’ve amassed.

Removing the like count may not be a permanent move by Facebook, but regardless, the sentiment is interesting. If Facebook are going to try to devalue the significance of likes on brand pages, many will need to rethink their paid social media strategies entirely.