The mad, mad world of social media commenting
on popularity,” Mr Dunkley said.
“Instagram is trying to project its image as being socially responsible, especially with its sister platform Facebook under scrutiny at the moment for many reasons.”
He said it’s great to see that Instagram is taking ownership of the problem and acknowledging that they created the ‘currency of popularity’, and understand that it is turning many users into a bunch of attention seeking ‘grandiose narcissists’.
“Visualise a person who is already feeling vulnerable, obsessing over that like counter second-guessing their self-worth and contemplating the ways they can improve their like count next time,” he said.
Mr Dunkley said removing likes may help reduce behaviours where the person is doing potentially harmful and dangerous stunts just to get social media likes.
“For example, there is a noticeable increase of deaths from people falling off cliffs and attacked by animals just to get that perfect selfie shot,” Mr Dunkley said.
“There is also an underlying reason that removing likes benefits Facebook and Instagram,” said, pointing out that users have a ‘groupthink behaviour’ where they just like posts because everyone else is liking those posts – and that plays havoc with the platforms’ ad targeting.
Users are being shown ads that they’re not interested in because they followed suit and clicked that like button. For advertisers it makes paid ads less effective, and have less reach, resulting in reduced ad spend. “Not good for revenue,” he said.
He points to recent studies from time.com and forbes.com revealing Instagram is the most damaging social media platform for mental health in users aged 14 to 24, where it’s commonly associated with growing levels of anxiety, depression, bullying and a fear of missing out.
“Users are already deleting their posts if they don’t get enough likes to avoid embarrassment in front of their online peers,” Mr Dunkley said.
“But some social media influencers are calling foul as they believe that showing the number of likes helps them attract sponsors.
“Maybe it’s a good idea not to encourage people to blindly sell
The quick self-check for next time you are about to comment online.
z Ask yourself, is the subject a reputable, data-sourced fact, or just an opinion?
z Treat posting as a real-life meeting. Address the issue, not the person.
z Be sceptical on the validity of the information. Do your research.
z Ask more questions.
z Double-check sources.
z Don’t take information at face value.
z If you wouldn’t verbally say something in a face-to-face scenario, then think twice about it before you hit the post button.
z There is a real person on the other end of your message and they have feelings too. Remember that. Stop the personal attacks.
z You may have taken the message out of context. It’s so easy to do that. Ask the other person to explain how they came to their conclusion.
z Think twice before writing something. You might just be shooting off at the mouth before putting the brain into gear. Come back to it later and ask yourself, is this something I might regret saying later? Would I put this on a billboard in front of my house for everyone to see? If not, don’t do it.
z Try to rise above the crowd: verify claims independently; give a fair hearing to others’ claims; and follow the data trail.
their souls to advertisers just to sell iphone cases or foot cream – let’s be honest, would you really miss insta influencers?”
He said when it comes down to it, this change is for the good of everyone’s mental health and to improve the way we interact online with each other.
Facebook has followed Instagram by removing post likes from the feed in Australia, so you may have already noticed the changes.