June 12th 2019

Instagram builds on addressing Mental Health

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12 Jun

Following Mental Health Foundation's awareness week last month, we take a look at the measures Instagram are considering rolling out throughout the popular social media platform.

According to Adam Mosseri, the social network manager for Instagram, the social media site are currently testing a version which will hide the number of likes of each post. The news came hours prior to the start of the annual F8 Facebook conference. With the preliminary tests conducted in Canada, the initial feedback thus far has been positive.

The aim of the changes is for users to focus more on content rather than the generated success of the content. The strategy is a demonstration on Facebook's part to tackle the concerns of Instagram users mental health. Despite the positive feedback, it is still uncertain if the final version will be released globally.

In the wake of Mental Health Awareness Week, Adam Mosseri stressed the importance of social media users well-being: "We want people to care less about how many likes they have on Instagram and spend more time relating to the people they care about. We do not want Instagram to be a competition, we want to make it an environment with less pressure".

Social Media & Mental Health

The Information Commissioner's Office recommends that younger users take a step back from social media. The data protection agency stated that the attention gained from "Likes" lead to users spending extended periods of time on partner network sites. "Reward cycles or positive reinforcement techniques can encourage users to remain active in service, allowing them to collect more personal data."

A study published in the Psychological Science academic journal highlights that teenagers pay more attention to likes than the content itself. The study concluded that posts which receive a high number of likes simulated the youngsters' brains in the same manner as earning a large sum of money. Facebook has previously attempted to find a balance between users mental health and social media usage, having introduced a control panel displaying the users time spent on the platform back in 2018.

In addition to the concealment of likes, Instagram will unveil a new look as well as new features, with more still yet to be announced for 2019. Instagram will give priority to the creation of content without neglecting profitability. And with profitability in mind, Instagram will receive a cut of the purchases made within the app. It is initially thought that this will apply solely for verified accounts and celebrities wanting to sell their products, but in the future could be extended to anyone selling their own products. This could lead to the possibility of users making charitable donations via the application.

The product selling aspect makes Instagram one of the most attractive social media networks for influencers. Currently, purchases can only be performed from established business accounts however, this option will be extended to a larger number of accounts. This will entitle celebrities, artists, influencers and the likes to not only promote but sell their products. This, in turn, will cement Instagram on the same level as Facebook as one of the best places to not shop but to interact with the public.

Mental health is something many people try to deal with alone. This shouldn't be the case. If you want to speak to someone, you can seek advice and support from a number of organisations.

Mental Health Foundation