It’s no secret that the presence of social media has increased over the last couple of years and this presence has had a rather hurtful impact on the public’s mental health, especially among young adults. Major platforms, like Facebook, have recently taken notice and are making strides towards a more positive outcome for the future. In this blog post, we summarize some of the more recent steps social media has made to make the user experience a little more positive and healthy.
Last year, Instagram (along with Facebook) introduced a setting feature that shows you just how much time you spend on the platform. The dashboard breaks down usage by daily and average minute counts. You can also set a daily “limit” for time spent on the app. Once you’ve reached your total allotted minutes, Instagram sends you a notification. As of now, the dashboard only allows you to track time spent on the mobile app on that device. The purpose is to help keep you accountable for how much time you’re spending on the platform. Studies have shown that too much time glued to your phone and the app is not healthy.
Just this month, Instagram experimented with the concept of removing likes from posts. According to a statement they released, they hope that this change would encourage people to focus on the content they post and not how many “likes” they can receive. It’s also been stated that the obsession over the number of likes a user’s post gets has had an extremely negative impact on mental health. This is especially true among the younger demographic. Many teens and young adults have been using this metric as a source of validation and self-worth, which is something Instagram would like to change.
Facebook took strides towards reducing negative rhetoric on the platform by removing a number of extremist commentators from the app. This was seen as a major move by Facebook. It really underlined the platform’s renewed focus on stunting the rising amount of hate speech on the app, which is not only causing a division in communities but is also leading to increased attacks and violence in real life.
Unfortunately, we have seen this real-life violence in recent months. There’s been a number of violent attacks linked to extremist activism, which include shootings in Pittsburgh, Christchurch, and Poway that have left physical and mental casualties. In response, Facebook has been actively working with third-party groups to help develop new platform policies like this one to prevent these types of acts.