Instagram taking away likes is only the beginning

More needs to be done to improve the link between social media and mental health

Opinion+Editor+Aaliyah+Yan+writes+that+Instagram+taking+away+likes+is+a+good+thing%2C+but+it+doesn%27t+address+the+main+problem+with+social+media+and+mental+health.

Kyla Pelham

Opinion Editor Aaliyah Yan writes that Instagram taking away likes is a good thing, but it doesn't address the main problem with social media and mental health.

Aaliyah Yan, Opinion Editor

As of the end of last year, Instagram has begun hiding likes on posts in the U.S. although this movement has already taken place in several other countries such as Canada and Brazil. According to Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram “The idea is to depressurizing Instagram, make it less of a competition and give people more space to focus on connecting with people that they love, things that inspire them.” The new feature makes it so certain users will not be able to see the number of likes on other people’s posts but will still be able to see how many likes are on their own posts.

To be honest, I didn’t even know it had started to occur in the United States until it was brought to my attention by a fellow student. One thing I did notice however as though we weren’t able to see the number of likes anymore, you could still click on other people’s posts and see the list of people who liked it. I mean if you truly wanted to see how many likes a post got, you could count each individual that liked the post. 

Overall I think it’s a good idea. It lowers the levels of competition between people comparing their number of likes with others.  I believe it allows the focus of Instagram to be more about the community and improve the mental health of its users. Rather than focusing on the number of likes a post gets people can take time and enjoy the pictures that they and their friends post. 

However, others, myself included, don’t care about comparing likes to other people’s posts. Instead, they tend to compare the number of likes they get on one post to the number of likes they get on other posts. If a post gets significantly fewer likes than another, the user may feel as if there is something wrong about the picture. 

I also think that the number of likes a person receives are less impactful than the comments people get. With celebrities, hateful and rude comments would cause more harm than the number of likes they get. Furthermore, with the likes taken away, comments would just end up replacing them; the number of comments or followers people receive would become the point of comparison between people. 

Although removing likes from posts is a start to make Instagram a more positive place, I think there is more that can be done. Possibly getting rid of comments could be a step in the right direction. Regardless, I believe as time goes on, social media can become a more positive and safe place.