Open Instagram this week, and you may notice likes– or how many hearts a post gets– have disappeared from the news feed and user profile pages.
Instagram says they’ve hidden likes from some accounts as a test to decrease competitive pressure– especially among young people.
“Often times, teens are competing for the amount of likes that they get, and they base their confidence on the amount of likes that they get,” said Lauren Roberts, a licensed professional counselor who helps local kids who are struggling with these kinds of issues. Roberts says she views Instagram’s move as positive and could help cut down competition among teens.
She also says the number of likes a photo posted to Instagram can get– or not get– is raising body image concerns among young people.
“They may get more likes on a picture that they look thinner in,” she said. “They may get more likes to a picture they have edited. And that can combat with their self esteem or their insecurities. They may question do I not look as good? Do I look more overweight? Do I look worse without the filter?”
Instagram recently made a move to address the body image concerns– getting rid of some selfie filters that give the appearance of slimmer faces, fuller lips, and high cheekbones.
“I’m eager to see the results of this. Hopefully Snapchat and Facebook make it on board as well,” said Roberts.
Click here to contact Lauren Roberts about counseling.