While it's easy to joke and deflect your way out of caring about it, Instagram—for some—can prove to be a minefield in terms of general mental wellness. For younger users, this potential for negative impact brought on by near-constant usage is of particular concern at the moment within the national discourse on social media's long-term affects. And as typically annoying as articles sourced from cable news segments purporting to know anything about this demographic are, we'll do our best here to keep the cringe at a tolerable level.
Thankfully, Gayle King's CBS News piece hinged on cyberbullying and the possibility of a likes-hiding update features interviews with actual teenagers, with ages ranging from 12 to 18. Asked about their posting tendencies, one teen named Aashean noted that the frequency is of course correlated with the potential for interaction with followers. Another, Jackson, got a bit more specific.
"If I have a post and it gets under 200 likes, I just delete it," Jackson said in the video below.
The interviewees added that landing a post-worthy photo, from their experience, often includes taking between 50 (or, in the case of Gabriella, as many as 200) possibles before landing on a final. As for whether any of this constitutes an accurate portrayal of a person's life, the general consensus here appears to be that it indeed does not, due in part to the prevalence of multiple accounts owned by a single user.
"Ever since that's become a trend, people are more gravitated towards [Finstagramming] to put things on there that they don't want everyone to see," noted Allison.
On the topic of cyberbullying, several points were made by the interviewees about the disconnect between the seeming confidence behind hateful messages shared in Instagram comments or DMs and the lack thereof when confronted in so-called real life. "But in school they're just, like, 'Oh no. Like, I didn't mean that,'" Gabriella told King. "You said it though. It may have been online, but those were still your words."
In a separate interview with current Instagram boss Adam Mosseri, the consideration of a possibly helpful likes-hiding update (previously reported as being in testing) was discussed. While King noted that her discussions with younger Instagram users suggested that such a feature might not go over as well as the team would hope, Mosseri was adamant that their overall goal is to "depressurize" the platform.
"We want people to feel good about the experience that they have on Instagram," Mosseri, who characterized likes as a "lightweight feedback" tool, said. "We want people to focus their energy on connecting with the people that they care about, on being inspired by fashion, food, travel, whatever it might be that inspires him."