Is Instagram The New Heroin?
The social media addiction we all crave…
By Elena Chernov
Instagram has recently been testing out removing likes on users posts in certain parts of the world. Now it’s coming to America and some people aren’t happy about it. Why would Instagram remove likes? The CEO of Instagram Adam Mosseri says, “We will make decisions that hurt the business if they help people’s well-being and health.”
Mosseri said “it’s about creating a less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves.” If the CEO is willing to risk hurting his own business for the sake of people’s health: then maybe it’s more serious than people realize.
What Are The Experts Saying?
The world’s biggest social media apps, from Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat all have one factor in common; they are highly addictive. Studies show that they are as addictive as heroin is to the brain. Recent brain imaging research shows that social media affects the brain’s frontal cortex. It controls the impulse control the same way cocaine does. Every like is like an instant gram and shows a raise in dopamine levels the feel-good neurotransmitter in our brain.
Social media apps produce the same neural response caused by gambling and drugs. Studies show that likes, comments and shares affect the reward center in the brain. They trigger the same type of chemical reaction as cocaine.
Neuroscientists have compared social media to a syringe that injects a direct dosage of dopamine. According to a new study by Harvard University, the same part of the brain that lights up when using an addictive substance is the same reaction when people self-disclose on social media.
There are many studies that have found that social media addiction is real and it’s not something to take lightly. According to statistics, there are over 2 billion Facebook users worldwide. Around 500 million tweets sent a day on Twitter, 95 million pictures uploaded to Instagram a day. YouTube has over 400 hours of video uploaded per minute. Those staggering numbers alone should tell us something. Social media is addictive by nature.
Hooked On Facebook
The more time you spend scrolling and clicking, the higher the engagement. Social media is a business platform. The most successful way of you getting to use their apps is by constantly having you come back. They do that by making social media be addictive as possible. The more addicted you are the more likely you will keep coming back to use their platform resulting in high engagement sales.
Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook said, “Social media literally changes your relationship with society and with each other. It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”
Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook said that when it comes to his nephew, “there are some things that I won’t allow. I don’t want them on a social network.”
Chamath Palihapitiya a former Facebook executive said, “It literally is at a point now we’ve created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works. If you feed the beast, the beast will destroy you.”
The Dangers Of Social Media
He warns on the harmful effects of the addictiveness of social media. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse. No cooperation. Misinformation. Mistruth. This is a global problem. We are in a really bad state of affairs right now, in my opinion. It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other.”
Palihapitiya said that he only used Facebook twice in seven years and does not allow his own children to use it.
The most bizarre part of this all is the founders of these very apps, do not use their own apps. That’s right, the geniuses who have designed these apps won’t even allow their own children and grandchildren to use Facebook and Instagram.
If that doesn’t say anything about the addictive nature of social media I don’t know what will.