instagram might remove ‘likes’

One small step for Instagram, one giant leap for… mental health?

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01 May 2019, 11:45pm

The act of posting a selfie to Instagram and obsessively monitoring likes and comments has become a commonplace daily, weekly, and monthly activity that threatens our sanity. Yet, many of us still do it, turning to social media for some form of self-validation. While we’ve often wondered what sort of action to take in regards to this unhealthy obsession beyond recognizing that Instagram is bad for our mental health and calling the effect of social media and online addiction on young people “an epidemic” — little has been done to move forward.

However, going into Mental Health Awareness Month, Instagram has announced that it is experimenting with an updated version of the app. The social media site is trialing a version in Canada where likes are visibly removed and it is monitoring the effects of the change on users behavior. Likes are no longer visible in the feed — on photos or videos — or on individual profile pages. The act of liking something is still there, but users can only view their own metrics privately, by tapping through their posts.

The changes are “about creating a less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves,” focus less on likes, and more on the content itself. “We do hear people worry about how many like counts they get,” Head of Instagram Adam Moseri admits. And the company acknowledges that some of the app’s features contribute to high stress and anxiety levels.

“Stories was, in part, the inspiration for this test,” Mosseri said. And Instagram is considering hiding the metrics — who and how many people view them — as well. But, the trials are in the early stages. More to come on that.

This article originally appeared on i-D US.