In a bid to tackle growing concerns over its dealing with mental health issues, instagram is rolling out a new feature to hide ‘likes’.
After being rated as the worst social media for mental health in a study by The Royal Society for Public Health, Instagram is in the process of scraping its ‘like’ system entirely. Most recently, Australia have received the update which hides the number of ‘likes’ per post from everybody except the person who’s post it is. This controversial move has been welcomed by many mental health professionals, however it has divided opinions amongst young people, with some saying it defeats the purpose of Instagram.
The company has justified the move by claiming they want “followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get”, although Instagram were also keen to reassure those users criticising the move, saying that the trial is still a work-in-progress and that they will respond to general feedback about the change.
The move comes after the company has been under fire for its failure to protect its users. They hope that by removing the pressure to gain likes on your posts, people will be more free to express themselves in different ways and explore their own self-identity, rather than worrying about what other people like.
Instagram is also trying to crack down on its anti-bullying stance by introducing automated messages when someone appears to be making hateful comments. Furthermore, users are now able to ban certain words and phrases from being commented on their posts in order to prevent bullying.
While it’s unclear how effective these methods are, it’s certainly a step in the right direction to help relieve the pressure placed upon young people. While the “like ban” won’t affect England for now, it’s only a matter of time before this new feature hits worldwide.
By Alia Butlin