Australians have a special place in the tech world: lab rats. Big tech has discovered that we’re the Goldilocks size to test market what we do on our daily runs through their social media maze, posting and sharing in the quest for the cheese -- or likes.
For the past two years, Facebook has been testing whether dialling back the pressure of the tools that measure “success” would make us feel better or worse about ourselves. In late 2019, it turned off the like count on Instagram “to see if it might depressurise people’s experience” in Australia and a handful of other markets.
The platform found -- and I know this will shock you -- that some people liked it, and some people didn’t. The company shrugged that it didn’t change the user experience for good or ill. It was particularly unpopular among heavy users who need the measurement the likes count gives so that they can turn it into money or status.