Facebook tests a new page layout that will downplay similar counts.

Facebook tests a new page layout that will downplay similar counts.

Facebook is testing a new page format in its app that is designed to put more emphasis on the essential details of the page and which also, interestingly enough, removes the option to like a page, with the focus instead shifted to Next.

The example above, shared by TechCrunch, shows the current format (left) and the new format side by side. As you can see, the new design includes a larger centre profile image, a short statement under the name, and larger text for key details.

But the biggest change is the removal of the Like button. As you can see, the main call-to-action button on the new page is a prominent blue ‘Follow’ message, while the total likes count is also not displayed. Instead, the total number of ‘followers’ is displayed.

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In fact, that makes a lot of sense. While people who like a Facebook page also automatically become followers of it, many later choose to unfollow them at some point. So while your Like count maybe 1,000, at least some of those people won’t see your updates. But your followers will. People who have expressly chosen to follow a page will see (in most cases) all updates to that page, and in this sense, the follower count is far more valuable than the likes figure.

That doesn’t mean Likes are useless: Facebook still uses Likes as a proxy for a page’s popularity and relevance, which would have some impact on reach within its algorithm. But again, since you’re now trying removing Page Likes as an option, you’re probably not pondering them much.

So in reality, followers are a much more relevant indicator, however, you look at it.

The redesigned page also includes some administration and system changes that will make it easier to manage the pages.

Facebook tests a new page layout that will downplay similar counts.

On the one hand, Facebook seeks to make it easy to switch between your personal and business pages, so you can comment and interact from each with a few taps. Facebook also seeks to make it easier to assign and manage administrator access permissions based on specific elements of the page.

These changes are relatively minor, but use either way, while removing likes has far-reaching implications and considerations, which could eventually change the overall Facebook management process.

The new format is currently being tested with a small group of public figures, but Facebook is expanding the test to more pages over time. If / when available to you, you will be notified in the app.

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