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Social media platforms should improve algorithms to protect mental health

September 14, 20223 Mins Read
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Social media platforms should improve algorithms /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 treat mental health issues, or are they essentially band-aid solutions?
Users’ perceptions of their bodies are often 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 standards.

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 vs the Benefits

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 online platforms such as “instagram and facebook”, 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 usage of social media. Importantly, as recent whistleblower evidence demonstrates, online 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 would arouse their emotions in order to maintain their interest.

Despite being aware of the harm that their platforms and algorithms do, social media firms have done little to protect users. Consumers are in risk 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.

How we can battle social media-related mental health problems with the appropriate algorithms?

1. One of the writers on online platform penned an essay on how to counter these algorithms and protect social media users’ mental health
2. They emphasise that social media companies have the major responsibility in the first place.
3. The study suggests that social media platforms should educate users of the selection process behind 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.
4. Influencers may also have an impact on the wellbeing and body image of their followers.
5. Measures to lessen the negative impact of social media on body image can be examined by researchers, educators, and medical professionals.
6. These results may have an impact on social media literacy initiatives that instruct youth on online platforms advertising, promote the use of critical thinking when using online platforms, and instruct them on how to enhance the positive content that appears in their news feeds.

 

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