Several Instagram users will only double-tap a post and there will be no appearance of a number of likes. The decision to hide like counts was announced last week by Instagram’s chief executive officer, Adam Mosseri. This decision is hailed by some and criticised by another. Many brands and influencers are concerned that hiding like count will affect their marketing scheme. The users can like and comment on the posts but the only content creator will be able to see the number of likes.
“This decision will bring many positive effects to the mental wellness of users”, says Rachel Rodgers, an associate professor in the Department of Applied Psychology at Northeastern University. She says that this will drastically reduce anxiety among teenagers who elevate their self-worth through feedbacks and like counts.
The other reason for the user’s addiction to likes is that they want to brag their new haircut, shoes, and dress at school that will bring them social validation. Rachel Rodgers says, “We are essentially social people and a lot of the way we navigate the world is based on the feedback that will get from other people.”
Another psychological theory that comes to the forefront is social identity theory, which holds that users usually compare themselves with other users on several parameters, including appearances and living standards. Appearance, especially selfies, is a very core dimension of identity, the likes one receives or the feedback they receive becomes very important.
Social media, particularly, Instagram has caused increased levels of anxiety, depression, bullying, loneliness, and fear of missing out. As a consequence of this, Instagram brought significant changes in its features for the past few years. It also announced the banning of facial features and restricted the posts that promote weight loss. The researchers commended these moves as positive moves. It clearly sends a message that these moves taken by Instagram show that they care about users, their mental-wellness. Whatever the outcome will be, it will definitely reduce the competition and negative mental health.