Instagram is testing out a new feature that stops users from seeing likes on other peoples’ posts in Canada. The move is expected to help people feel happier on the platform, encouraging them to stop comparing themselves to other users. Instagram knows its platform it taking a toll on people’s mental health and it is slowly releasing features that could help combat those trends.
A recent report showed that long hours on social media, in general, could have negative implications on one’s mental health. The report said that Instagram does the most damage on young adults compared to its parent company, Facebook.
Spending time on Instagram can increase the fear of missing out (FOMO), alter one’s body image and decrease sleep. Combined, these factors can lead to depression and anxiety.
People will be able to see the number of likes they get on their own posts — it’s their followers who will be out of the loop. Instagram said during the F8 Developers conference that it wanted users to “focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”
Last year, the company began offering a screen-time feature that lets users track the amount of time they spend within the mobile app. Although the feature does not stop any functionality within the app, it was the company’s first step in helping identify a larger issue in smartphone usage.
It would seem that Instagram’s latest updates will curb some of users’ addiction to the app, but more features that will keep users glued to their screens were announced conference. The platform is rolling out more consumer-focused tools that allow people to buy items directly from posts, so shopaholics are going to have a hard time prying themselves from the app.
“With the ability to tag exactly what they’re wearing, creators can get back to expressing themselves and sharing what’s on their mind, which will make their followers happy too,” Instagram said in a blog post.
Taking away like counts while building out shopping features seems like two steps forward, five steps back for Instagram. As the company becomes more integrated with Facebook and WhatsApp, there could be similar updates to Facebook. Each platform is having major updates that are completely revamping users’ experience on the apps.
Instagram is expected to start removing like counts in the U.S. later this year, but it may be an update that alters the platform forever.