Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri announced this Friday that the application will begin to hide the number of likes a user receives. In other words, followers and the general public may continue to like an image, but they will not be able to see the actual count of the likes. The experiment will be tested in the US from the next week. It must be noted that Instagram first tried this experiment in Canada. Later on, it was tested in New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Italy, Brazil and Australia.
Users will still be able to see the number of likes they receive for each post or video. However, their followers will not be able to see them. Mosseri revealed that the idea was to depressurize Instagram and take out the feeling of competition and rivalry that many users feel. Instagram has made significant strides towards improving and fostering mental health among its users, and this is a step in the right direction.
What made Instagram to hide the number of likes?
The trigger for the experiment emerges from findings that social media could probably be related to a worsening of mental health symptoms. Studies show that social media use can result in anxiety and depression, and having to compete with one another results in poor self-esteem.
Instagram in particular can result in lower self-esteem because one is constantly judged for their photographs. Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, has often come under fire from mental health professionals for creating an unhelpful atmosphere for those who are vulnerable.
It could also result in negative body image, according to many psychologists. Hiding likes can remove the aspect of competition from the dynamics, and allow people to share their photographs without worrying about gaining more likes. Even in the experiments that Instagram conducted all over the world, users reported a decrease in negative mood. However, there is no scientific proof that hiding likes will somehow improve the mental health of users.
Are there any business benefits to this?
Many businesses may want to hide the number of likes they receive, especially if the numbers are too few. When likes are too few, businesses may not appear very successful and that may result in lower sales and profits.
Startups which are on a budget often spend a lot of time on social media trying to engage with their audience. Hiding the number of likes may remove the stress of having to appear successful while still growing. Clearly, hiding the number of likes has a clear business benefit as well, especially for small and upcoming businesses.
Instagram makes a step in the right direction
Just a few weeks ago, we had written about Instagram’s decision to allow the posting of group stories. We had also written about a headset that claims to treat depression, called Flow. If you’d rather sit back and enjoy a nice toast instead of sharing pictures on Instagram, you can take a look at Watchmen’s Rorschach Toaster, which creates inkblot-like prints on your toast, reminiscent of the famous psychological projective test.
Seek help if you need it
Instagram’s decision to hide the number of likes is a step in the right direction. however, we must note that mental health isn’t always affected by social media and can have many other reasons to develop and manifest. If you are not feeling great lately, or have ideas of harming yourself, contact the nearest mental health clinic.
You may also speak to your school counselor or work place adviser if you need professional help and are unable to find assistance yourself. Mental health conditions are treatable and it is important to watch out for ourselves and others, when signs and symptoms appear.