In May 2017, RSPH (Royal Society for Public Health) and the Young Health Movement published a report examining the positive and negative effects of social media on young people’s health. The report includes a table of social media platforms according to their impact on mental health.
YouTube topped the table as the most positive, with Instagram and Snapchat coming out as the most detrimental to young people’s mental health and wellbeingSource: RSPH
Now Instagram is giving users a break from their fixation on likes.
Instagram is already testing this in 7 countries including Canada and Brazil, showing a post’s audience just a few names of mutual friends who’ve Liked it instead of the total number, hiding the number of likes and video views each post gets, so the rest of the world can’t tell how popular it is. You’ll still be able to see the likes and video views your posts have gotten, but the public won’t.
The move underscores how tech companies are thinking twice about features and products that are detrimental to public mental health.Source: CNet
Hiding likes could change how Instagram users engage with the platform and with other users.
A Facebook spokesperson said they launched the test to “remove the pressure of how many likes a post will receive,” allowing users to share “authentically and comfortably” on the site.Source: CNet
Twitter is looking to see the ways likes and retweets can be hidden, like behind a user tap, to make conversations easier to follow. Many users thought this meant Twitter was planning to remove the numbers, but in actuality if it is executed, it will require users to open up a tweet to see the number of likes and retweets.
Twitter’s head of consumer product, Jack Coleman, said the platform is considering the feature as a means to make communication between users a bit friendlier. “We’re working on changing the product and changing the policies to improve the health of the conversations,” he said. (He also mentioned that Twitter, like YouTube, is putting significant effort into taking down accounts that are spreading hoaxes and conspiracy theories.)Source: TubeFilter
Tom Leung, director of project management at YouTube, has also talked about the options that they are considering to combat ‘dislike mobs’.
He said: “This is where a group of people will go to a video, not even watch it, and purposefully click the thumbs down.” One of YouTube’s ideas is to make likes and dislikes invisible on videos by default. Mr Leung said: “This is an interesting one, because on the one hand you could say, if I show the ratings and there’s a lot of people who like the video, that’s a signal to viewers that this is a really cool video.Source: Mirror
Facebook could also start hiding the Like counter on News Feed posts. This is said to be a measure to protect users’ from envy and discourage them from self-censorship.
The idea is to prevent users from destructively comparing themselves to others and possibly feeling inadequate if their posts don’t get as many Likes. It could also stop users from deleting posts they think aren’t getting enough Likes or not sharing in the first place.Source: Tech Crunch
It is not just one major social media platform considering measures and option, it seems as though the big players in social media are taking steps to ensure that their platform is a place that can promote a healthy mindset and environment for users. Hopefully, these actions would actually work out for the better.