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A mockup of an intervention showing a Twitter comment, but it has a new button along the bottom that shows how many people have viewed the tweet.


Evoke User's Visibility

Show Content Reach (# of Views)

More conscientious posts, reduced misconceptions of people unlike themselves


What It Is

This counts, and relays back to the user, the number of distinct users who have seen a post or comment that user has made.

Different methodologies to count views could be used by different platforms, so long as they are consistent within the platform.

This view meter must be clear and distinct from other social metrics relayed back to users, such as the number of upvotes/likes, shares/retweets, &c.

What It Does

The Prosocial Design Network suspects that this intervention could accomplish the following:

  • People will compose their own posts/comments with more care because they realize how big their audience really is
  • People will respond less to trolls who have gotten comparatively few views

When To Use It

On social content, whenever a comment or post displays how many likes, reacts, or shares it has, it should also display how many people have viewed it— at a glance.

How We Know It Works

Researchers from Facebook combined survey and large-scale log data to examine how well users’ perceptions of their audience match their actual audience on Facebook. They found that social media users consistently underestimate their audience size for their posts, guessing that their audience is just 27% of its true size.

Why It Matters

According to researchers from Facebook: "Users have scarce information about who actually sees their content, making their audience seem invisible and difficult to estimate." this can lead to over-disclosure and a lack of self-censorship.


This entry is currently being researched & evaluated!

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Our Confidence Rating


This intervention has yet to be tested.

In The Wild

This intervention has precedence, and exists, or has at one time or another, existed in the wild.


Corporate Origin


Altmetric score

April 27, 2013

Quantifying the Invisible Audience in Social Networks

Michael Bernstein, Eytan Bakshy, Moira Burke, Brian Karrer

Supplemental materials



Observational Studies cover both descriptive and analytical studies. In both cases, researchers observe the effect of either a risk factor or intervention, without trying to change who is or isn't exposed to it. A descriptive study describes the patterns of a condition or issue in relation to variables such as person, place, and time. They are often the first step or initial inquiry into a new topic, event, disease or condition. Analytic studies are undertaken to test specific hypotheses, often those arising from descriptive studies. Samples of subjects are identified and information about exposure, status, and outcome, is collected. The essence of an analytic study is that groups of subjects are compared in order to estimate the magnitude of association between exposures to a stimulus, and outcomes.

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Further Reading

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