No likes, no problem? Users’ reactions to the removal of Instagram number of likes on other people's posts and links to body image

Ivanka Prichard, Shana O'Toole, Yu Wu, Jane Harford, Marika Tiggemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the age of social media, “likes” are increasingly considered a numerical indicator of popularity and a measure of self-worth. Using an online questionnaire, Australian women (N = 291) aged 18–55 years self-reported their reaction to Instagram removing the visibility of the number of likes from other people's posts, and completed measures of comparison and body image. Findings showed that the majority of participants were in favour of the removal (66.7 %), followed by those who were unsure (23.4 %). Interestingly, those who did not support the removal made significantly greater appearance comparisons based on likes than those who were in favour of the removal of the number of likes. Internalization of the thin ideal mediated the relationship between investment in and comparison with likes and body dissatisfaction. Results also demonstrated that women believe removing the visibility of the number of likes may facilitate a reduction in negative self-focus (comparisons and competitiveness) and improve mental health. Future research is needed to further investigate how the visibility of likes affects women's mental health and body image outcomes in other cultural contexts and across other social media platforms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-79
Number of pages8
JournalBody Image
Volume38
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Body image
  • Instagram
  • Social comparison
  • Social media
  • Thin-ideal internalization

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