Social media platforms should improve algorithms to protect mental health
Last year, Instagram made headlines for lowering likes in an effort to lessen comparisons and hurt feelings that come with connecting popularity to publishing content. But do these programmes actually address mental health issues, or are they essentially band-aid solutions?
Users’ perceptions of their bodies are generally negatively impacted by Instagram, TikTok, and other image-based social media platforms. On these websites, teenagers are frequently exposed to filtered and distorted content that presents unrealistic body ideals. According to recent evidence, users are more likely to experience body dissatisfaction and possibly dangerous conditions including body dysmorphia and eating disorders in this biassed environment.
The Risks in Return for the Reward
The use of social media reinforces itself. It functions by releasing dopamine into the reward centre of the brain, a “feel-good hormone” connected to pleasurable pursuits like sex, eating, and social interaction. The platforms are designed to be addicting, and they have even been connected to physical diseases like anxiety and sadness.
69% of adults and 81% of teenagers in the US use social media, according to the Pew Research Center. This puts a large section of the populace at risk of experiencing anxiety, sadness, or illness as a result of their use of social media. Importantly, as recent whistleblower testimony demonstrates, social media businesses are well aware of the harm these algorithms inflict.
Later, a TikTok whistleblower provided evidence of an algorithm that carefully manipulates the content given to viewers, favouring information that will arouse their emotions in order to maintain their interest.
Despite being aware of the harm that their platforms and algorithms cause, social media firms have done little to protect users. Consumers are in danger until these companies be more transparent about how they use their algorithms and provide consumers with ways to choose not to watch anything they do not want to see. Only following accounts that have a positive impact on one’s physical and mental health, and unfollowing accounts with upsetting or triggering content, is one way to lower risk.
With right algorithms, how we can combat mental health issues associated with social media
- How to avoid these algorithms and protect social media users’ mental health was the subject of an essay written by one of the social media journalists.
- First, they emphasise that social media companies have the primary responsibility.
- The study suggests that social media platforms should educate users of the rationale behind the selection of the content they view in their feeds. The use of microtargeting, a marketing strategy that targets particular customers based on personal information, should also be restricted.
- Influencers may also have an impact on the wellbeing and body image of their followers.
- Researchers, teachers, and clinicians might consider ways to lessen social media’s negative influence on body image.
- Such research findings may affect social media literacy initiatives that instruct youngsters on social media advertising and promote the use of critical thought while using social media, and show them methods for enhancing the positive content they see in their feeds.