00:05 GMT05 August 2020
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    Instagram is hiding the number of likes on posts in several countries, including Australia and Japan, to "ease the pressure" on users. At the moment, Instagram users see a running total of people who have liked a post. In the trial, users will see a user name "and others" below posts.

    Diana Parkinson, a therapist, thinks that the new feature will be helpful and beneficial, but at the same time damaging to the mental health of people constantly publishing images of themselves.

    Sputnik: How will this affect influencers and businesses that rely on Instagram for income? Could it lead to condemnation and cancellations from users of the app?

    Diana Parkinson: I wouldn't have thought so. If you just look at it simply, Instagram gets messages across, it spreads images or whatever information people want to share, it takes the pressure off with the 'likes'. People often buy the 'likes' anyway - they're not genuine 'likes,' but there is this big pressure on people who perhaps don't feel so good about themselves, who put themselves out there because they want to be liked and to get enough likes… there's this pressure isn't there? It's very damaging I think, to people's mental health if they are vulnerable but I don't think it will affect businesses.

    Sputnik: Will it be effective in its aim to 'remove pressure' and protect against mental health issues for younger, more vulnerable users?

    Diana Parkinson: I think the fact that the ‘likes’ situation changed will obviously be a plus and will be helpful and beneficial. The problem is that the way that we live nowadays, where image is everything, people who are constantly putting images of themselves out there are people who already probably have mental health problems; in that they have very low self-esteem, and it's all about wanting to look beautiful and be desirable and handsome, or whatever. So the person is already vulnerable, and they make themselves more vulnerable by putting their images out there. I think it would be better if we just put up images of something else. So if we've gone out for a day, and we take photographs that don't necessarily have any people in them, even that , is moving away from just the ego, from 'look at me', because the 'look at me' - it's very damaging, because not everybody will look, and if people do look, they are very likely to make unkind comments. You know, it's not healthy.

    Sputnik: Facebook wants to be seen as a socially responsible company, and I think that’s obvious from this latest move. What else can Facebook do?

    Diana Parkinson: Instagram and Facebook and all social media - unfortunately, it's all about them making money, isn't it? That's really being very cynical- it's just about making money. So becoming socially responsible, which yes they should be, but really they only do these things because people complain and express concerns, but they don't want to stop making money, and this is the way they make money.


    Views and opinions, expressed in the article are those of Diana Parkinson and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    mental health, Instagram
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