To Like Or Not To Like

Instagram should remove all likes from all Instagram posts

With more than 500 million daily active users and over 95 million posts made per day, the sense of competition in the Instagram community can feel suffocating. The importance teenagers place on the number of likes has become an unhealthy epidemic\; it makes people feel like they need to change who they are in order to have more people double-tap their post. Due to this habit, Instagram began experimenting with hiding the number of likes a post receives as of June 15, 2019. It is about time Instagram starts taking responsibility for the mental health issues the app has caused in teenagers.

Currently, Instagram allows users to see the number of likes another user has on their posts. The new update will say who liked it but not the number of likes. This change is a step forward in the right direction.

“We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get,” Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said.

In December 2019, Instagram rolled out a ban on displaying the numbers of likes in the United States. The test started in seven other countries in July 2019: Australia, Canada, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Japan and New Zealand.

“While the feedback from early testing has been positive, this is a fundamental change to Instagram, so we’re continuing our test to learn more from our global community,” CEO Kevin Systrom said.

The suicide rate among teenage girls rose to the highest it had been in forty years in 2015. Suicide rates are a direct correlation to expectations caused by social media, according to The competition social media causes many to feel less than they are. I have seen it first hand\; many teenagers not liking themselves or wanting to be like someone they follow on social media.

Teenagers should not have to deal with the fear of being pressured to be someone they are not. It is the app’s full responsibility to take action whenever a serious incident occurs during the use of their platform. These social media sites are not supposed to be used to compare people, but to express one’s personality and style. It should not be about how many likes or followers one person has.

While eliminating likes is a step into a better future, it is still not enough. To end the epidemic completely, Instagram must become more similar to another social media networking site, VSCO. VSCO is an app used to express one’s creativity and self assurance. Unlike it’s competing social media sites, VSCO only allows the user to see who followed them, who favorited their images and who republished their pictures, rather than how many followers, likes, and republished they get. By eliminating the pressure social media causes, it has become an app that promotes the individual and not others. If Instagram and other social media apps care about taking responsibility for their users’ mental health, they should follow VSCO’s lead.

As a teenager who frequently uses social media, I have seen people change everything about them to please people to gain clout. Who cares if your Instagram post does not get 500 likes, social media is supposed to be about you and you only. There needs to be a change.