Steve Inskeep discussed on Morning Edition


No well king and I'm Steve Inskeep Instagram is slowly testing out a big change the social media company is starting to hide the number of lakes that posts in stories get when they're put on that platform Sam Sanders host of the NPR podcast it's been a minute is an Instagram fanatic so he's here with analysis either Sam Hey how are you for people aren't on Instagram I guess you're you're putting up pictures and you can see that five people like that are five hundred people liked it what's happening to that feature now exactly so in the same way that on Facebook you can see how many people like your grandma's post about someone's birthday it's like that on Instagram as well but that social award that we all get for making Instagram post to get a bunch of lakes it's become a popularity contest Instagram says and they want less of that so in may Instagram began to experiment with removing the ability to see how many likes views other folks post received just in Canada at first and not all Canadian users just some and this week Instagram rolled that out to Australia and Brazil and Ireland Italy Japan and New Zealand so now some folks in those countries won't be able to see the light view counts on other people's posts but they can still see the tallies on their own posts wait a minute I can still have that addictive feature of looking to see if anybody likes my thing but I don't have to feel bad that somebody else got five thousand likes on theirs yes so at this well this conference in April Adam miss area the head of Instagram he said he wants users to spend a little more time quote connecting with the people they care about not wrapped up in popularity contest with strangers and that kind of statement maybe Instagram responding to a recent trend especially with younger users they want a social media experience that feels a bit more private and personal not so public informative so they basically are moving towards a more walled off social media just for folks that they actually like or at least now and of course this is also a moments the full of negative headlines about all of the social media apps how they affect our emotional health fears about what kind of data they collect on us and over Instagram dislike test allows the company to possibly get a few days of positive headlines and it may make it seem like this big tech company really cares about us there certainly are big issues on the table as you've just suggested and there are studies suggesting that people can be more or less depressed to based on how they use social media for example but is this week and I guess it sounds more like a tweak than a huge change really going to change the experience and make it more healthy well I was thinking about it I use Instagram a lot all the time and I said to myself even if I don't see the light count on Instagram for other people I will still see all those pretty people on the beach with ABS and pretty friends in cute dogs living a life that looks better than mine the photos in the videos of a picture perfect life are still out there so that intense comparison it can still be there even without me seeing a light count and I talk with Karen north she's a professor of digital social media at USC's Annenberg school and she told me sometimes that like function on Instagram is not a bad thing they may be trading one problem for another people say if I get X. number of like donate you know a service dog to a vet or had planted tree or do some other because we cannot join together anymore to promote this causes or even have that sense that we've come together with other people we could lose the next ice bucket challenge to look in the village to galvanize and unite folks on Instagram around good things through the like and to that I say Steve who would actually like that I'm pressing the like button on this interview Sam thanks so much thank you so much that's in pure Sam Sanders and you can hear more of him on the news of the week by listening to his podcast it's been a minute NPR this is NPR news and you are listening to KCRW KCRW sponsors.

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