Instagram, A Facebook-owned popular social media platform announced on Twitter that users in six additional countries would join Canada in testing out its upcoming feature that would allow users to block others from seeing the amount of “likes” their photos get.
Through a July 17 Twitter post, the social media platform announced: “We’re currently running a test that hides the total number of likes and video views for some people in the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand”
This is an effort from the picture and video sharing platform to get users to focus more on content than popularity, and likewise, Instagram has expanded testing that hides the number of “likes” content receives.
Moreover, The post clarifies that “You can still see your own likes by tapping on the list of people who’ve liked it, but your friends will not be able to see how many likes your post has received.”
There are concerns that social media platforms can contribute to low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy in young people and studies suggest this kind of instant feedback on content can boost people’s self-esteem but bring others down if they do not get as many likes.
When the test was first to run in Canada, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri said the aim was to minimize the stress of posting online with users competing over the number of likes their posts receive.
“We hope this test will remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive, so you can focus on sharing the things you love,” Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand director of policy, said in a statement.
The goal, she adds, is that users feel less judged and to see “whether this change can help people focus less on likes and more on telling their story”.
A study published earlier this week in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, published by the American Medical Association. Revealed that, by the hour, teens who engage in social media see an increase in the severity of depressive symptoms already naturally present in developing adolescents.
Social media platform affecting Mental Health
Several studies in the past have established links between young people using social media sites, apps and their mental health and behavioral changes. Mental health is often negatively affected by the culture of comparison and competition among teenagers, creating unnecessary and non-productive notions in their minds, leading to problems in sleeping and symptoms of depression. The aforementioned initiative by Instagram is a welcome change in order to bring back user attention to the content and not to measurable attached to it.