Instagram "Wellbeing" Team - saw this on LinkedIn

Instagram wants users to feel better
Instagram is forming a “Wellbeing Team” in order to make its users feel better while using the platform. Quartz notes that in a study last year by Britain’s Royal Society for Public Health, Instagram was ranked as the worst social media network for mental health and wellbeing, particularly harmful to teenage girls. However, it is unclear how the platform will address issues like negative body image, bullying and social media addiction. The Royal Society for Public Health report suggested a slew of content moderation tools, including warning pop-ups for certain content, but Instagram has so far not heeded the recommendations. The hiring of a team focused on wellbeing may demonstrate the company is beginning to take the issue more seriously. • Should Instagram work to increase the wellbeing of its users or is the platform simply a magnification of deeper problems that need to be fixed offline? Join the conversation.

Some choice user comments:
An app that promotes self-centered behavior and the appearance of false reality now wants to help people deal with not meeting other peoples standards? How cute!

Good luck with that. Instagram increases peer comparison and female anxiety at unprecedented levels. Never in the history of technology, has there been a platform that objectifies young women as well as IG. From the perspective of feminists, it’s the very last impact of AI and digital reinforcement you’d want your young teenagers to be exposed to and shows the considerable moral abyss that are American business models in corrupting the attention economy for profit.

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It would seem to me that negative impacts on self-worth are baked into the very design of Instagram, as with all social media.

If social media didn’t make us feel insecure, then it wouldn’t be nearly as effective at suggesting products for us to buy to make ourselves feel better. It’s a systematic replacement of deriving personal fulfillment from meaningful relationships, to deriving satisfaction from a cycle of conspicuous consumption. This is not a big secret, in fact it’s part of the very name of the platform: social media, as in social mediation. Putting space, something mediate as opposed to immediate, in between people and their relationships. Isolation begets control. Total control of the visual spaces we immerse ourselves in every day becomes something like control of our worldview. It all stops just short of a dystopian nightmare by the simple fact that we can take a deep breath and look away from the screen for a few hours. If we don’t exercise that freedom, however, it might as well not exist.

I wish the best of luck to Instagram’s Sisyphean “Wellbeing Team”, and I certainly hope they find success. Unfortunately, this will most likely pan out as nothing more than a PR move. Hopefully I’m wrong!

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Yes I am very familiar with this dishonest propoganda tactic. They are perhaps creating a “wellbeing team” as a public relations misdirection. In fact most of the big tech companies do the same thing, they create some team or policies to show that they’re “moral” in areas which don’t majorly affect their bottom lines, and this allows them to distract and decieve people from the fact that they are immoral in other much bigger ways. Usually it’s at least a small step in the right direction. But at the same time it’s mainly used as propoganda and as legal protection.

Instead of fixing its addictive products, Facebook (which owns Instagram) is hiring 12 lobbyists in Washington.

Scary that this is classic oligarch behavior of the kind most Americans and Westerners are probably not familiar with. Having observed Zuckerburg and listened to his recent comments, I can say we should be fearful.

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Scary indeed. Slightly off-topic, but on the topic of scary:

In perhaps the creepiest example, Facebook applied for (and received, last year) a patent for a tool called Techniques, for emotion detection and content delivery. It would use the camera in your phone to take pictures of you as you scroll through content. Facebook would then use facial analysis to measure how much you did or did not like the content in question, so as to determine what kind of stuff to send your way.

(source: rollingstone.com)

They can do this because you already gave them camera permission, so you can take photo’s to add them to FB (or Instagram, for that matter). So not liking content anymore would not be a hindrance in their psycho-analysis of you :slight_smile:

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As we approach the beginning of our reckoning with digital addiction it is no surprise to see Instagram install the wellbeing team. I imagine all of the Social empires will build similar defense mechanisms as research continues to sheds light on what addictive algorithms are doing to all of us.

The bottom line is Instagram ‘wants users to feel better’ so that we don’t switch platforms and stay plugged into to their money making machine. In the midst of this, it is up to the individual to observe the root of Instagram’s motivation and move beyond their own distraction.

If anything, these tactics seem to be a poor attempt to cloak Instagram’s underlying motivation to keep us hooked. They have used a surface level tactic to protect their public image in the midst of growing scrutiny.

Still, this is good to see because it reminds us all that a movement of digital conciseness is on the horizon. As these companies scramble to cover up their tactics our society will slowly become more aware of our addiction and move beyond it.

Thanks for posting!

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I’m not the first to suggest this, but it seems that a founding principle of Humane Tech should be to get rid of numbers.

No counting likes, loves, retweets, hearts, engagement, whatever.

That slot machine + emotionally destructive UI can’t be a feature of humane tech. The likes on this comment forum included.

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Hi @JoshOakhurst, you should check out the demetricator projects on the Awesome Humane Tech list… they may be interesting in this aspect.

Edit: Though not for Instagram actually. A good thing to contact the creator of the demetricator about, maybe?

As ironic as it is to like your post! I think comments are ok if they constitute mindful replies to content. It is the blind feedback that is the problem and leaves users prone to addiction. So yes, likes/retweets/everything of that ilk should go…

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Hi @Jess, @JoshOakhurst as described in bullet point Practical & functional in the solving TL;DR problem topic, removing likes will not help our cause.

While I agree that apps in general should do this, and it should be in the CHT principles, this forum is not an end-product, but more professional conversation platform. The likes serve to show your contribution is on-topic and valuable, without needing a ton of ‘Me too’ and ‘Agree’ comments that are distracting from real content and make the thread TL;DR.

Hi @Jess, I just bumped into the location of the report, so I’ll share it here:

Hi actually why I went in this forum. I am 25+ years in the beauty industry. And how instagram is the favorite platform in the beauty industry really is a huge concern to me. Self images of young women are so unreal I find it super scary. I have a teenage girl myself and see how they communicate. How to define inner beauty when pictures shown on this platform is all about flawless skin… ect. I find it so difficult to navigate and past 5 years it’s exploded. I really try when I speak one to one to advocate beauty is not about next new product or lipstick. It’s inside yourself. I find it diffucult when I know me whole industry tals to womens insecurtites.I have started a small group of women talking about - Radiate Your Inner Beauty - where we try to define beauty on own terms… this group takes place on FB but I would really need to move this else where due to all distractions? I would love comments on this I fell I am talking alone on this subject. Thanks

There was an artist in 2014 that created a fake persona on Instagram in 2014 as an art project. It had a lot of predictive power on how this social media platform would be used. Interesting article:

The author wrote a book about the whole phenomenon: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34056798-the-selfie-generation

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This is good stuff @Charlotte!

Start a group in your community to talk about these issues- entitle it “inner beauty” and mention the part about how to define beauty. Educate the kids in your community- you could make it a library talk or coffee chat at a cafe. Find a earthy cafe or grocery/cafe and they will be grateful for you bringing in the business-

This is such good information for our kids… and everyone