Instagram hiding likes to promote healthier social media culture


NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, (KNWA) — Instagram is testing a new feature where it is hiding followers’ likes from its users. An effort to make the social media site a more positive environment.

Instagram wants you to focus on connecting and sharing and not on how many likes you get. It started testing the feature in other countries over the summer and got positive feedback. Now the test is moving to the United States.

According to Statista, an online portal for statistics, Instagram has more than a billion users. Cheyennene Allen said the site helps her feel closer to her friends. “That’s a way to connect with them even though we are not talking all the time and I can see they are doing well and are successful.”

She admits there are some negative aspects to the social media site “Every time I post I always compare the likes to other people and if I have the same amount of followers as some people like why am in not getting hundreds of likes in like 30 mins,” Allen said.

Joshua Daniel Upshaw, with the department of psychological science at the University of Arkansas, said he is not surprised by the reaction. “We are hardwired to want to connect socially with one another and what the likes does is it facilitate that need.”

Instagram is testing the feature to help reduce some of the negative impacts of social media. “Whenever you have so many extra hours you are spending on it, it can be problematic. It can lead to high anxiety and depression,” Upshaw said.

The trial will only affect some users. They will be able to see their own likes but not their followers’ likes.

Instagram user, Alex Lance said she thinks it is a good idea. “I think it will build community. I think it is a good thing.”

“I think it would be better because then people wouldn’t be comparing themselves to others and they can just enjoy peoples posts.

Instagram will be testing this feature for the next couple of months. It is not clear if the option will become permanent.

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