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Narcissist: an extremely self-centered person who has an exaggerated sense of self-importance.

 As a result of the rise of social media over the last decade, this accurately describes a large portion of the population. Follower count and the number of likes have become the defining measures of worth of our time.

That's why the latest news that Instagram is toying with people's dopamine is causing some people to panic. They're currently testing hiding the total number of likes and video views for some people in a handful of countries. Per Instagram, "We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get."  So rather than focusing on the number of likes that picture of your ass gets, they want users to focus on the quality of the picture of your ass.

Despite the outrage, this is a great idea from a mental health perspective as there has been countless research showing social media causes diseases such as depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. Instagram was even ranked as the most detrimental social media platform to young people’s mental health and well-being. Facebook's $1 billion acquisition of Instagram in 2012 has been a large contributor to its nearly $600 billion current market capitalization. With reports that nearly 10% of accounts may be bots as well as the fact many likes come from click farms it's interesting Instagram is starting to show less information on reach at a time when the company is increasingly in the news for shady dealings.

While there will surely still be people making $700,000 per year off their butt, it will be interesting to see what kind of effect this has on the "social media influencer" career path, Instagram usage and ultimately Facebook's share price.


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