Likes and Mental Health
Likes may feel like they are integral to the social media experience, because they’ve been around since the beginning. Still, the reality is that likes allow users and followers alike to quantify the perceived value of their everyday life in a way that simply does not promote mental health.
From deleting posts that don’t get enough attention for fear of humiliation to outright like-chasing, studies have shown that people — particularly younger generations that are on these apps for hours a day — are experiencing negative mental health effects that are rooted in social media’s toxic ecosystem.
Heck, a 28-year-old Florida woman was just arrested for passing out flyers with her Instagram information on it while posing as a teenager at a local high school, so it’s safe to say we’ve reached an unhealthy level of obsession. In fact, many believe — even former Facebook employees — social media is as addictive as an actual drug.
“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works,” said Chamath Palihapitiya, former Vice President of User Growth at Facebook, during a talk at Standford University.
Mandatorily removing like counts would, admittedly, cause significant uproar. But social media companies, especially Facebook, need to start taking their role in the mental health crisis seriously, and a big move might just be the way to go.
But until then, at least let us help you get rid of like counts on your own account.