The social media app Instagram has long held a reputation for being linked to damaging the mental health of teenagers and young adults. This stems from the ability of users to curate whatever content they post, making it appear as an ideal representation of life, rather than the reality as it is. There is a constant tension between fabrication and authenticity. Hence, the company has taken bold steps to rectify the situation, which will inevitably impact its 1 billion active users.
Among the most debated is the hiding of likes from others which is being trialed in several countries. Each user will only be able to see the number of likes on their own posts but will no longer be able to see the number of likes on others. From a psychological aspect, likes on Instagram can serve many purposes from expressions of approval to making a point. Indeed, the most-liked photo on the platform, with more than 50 million likes is a picture of an egg.
Unfortunately, some people compare their lives with others and judge their worth by the number of likes they receive. According to a recent survey with 1,500 British young people, they mutually agreed that Instagram was considered the worst social media network for health and well-being. Most often, users of this platform have been associated with higher levels of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. The stakes are high for Instagram with this new implementation and time will only tell its real impact on the company and the users.