We’ve had some complaints, this week, about likes disappearing from your accounts and we want to level with you: the likes are on their way out. I’ve seen the psychological studies. I’ve seen the Netflix documentary about dopamine cycles and mental health. I’ve seen an attachment-based psychologist who is helping me come to terms with the vast, vast internal chasm of a childhood need for my dad’s approval and I’ve decided that, even if it hurts our business, I want to break the cycle here.
I know that some of you will be disappointed and I want you to know that I see you, I hear you, and I feel a lot of empathy for your early childhood experiences. Over the past several years, we at Instagram have grown to appreciate seeing you connect, and share, and grow together, but some of you seem to be using this platform for what my psychologist, Dr. Winter, has identified as attention-seeking behavior. I don’t know if I’m projecting, here, but likes are not a substitute for mental health counseling and—on my end—I’m no longer comfortable being the codependent party to your behavior without some firmer boundaries.
I understand your need for approval—like me, you’re only human—but, overall, I’m hearing a lot of stories and seeing a lot of thirst-traps from people who obviously still have issues to resolve with one or more of their parents. I want to encourage you to have those conversations as soon as possible. Your dads aren’t going to be around forever and it’s clear to us from your posts that even the likes you got from your vacation photos aren’t going to change the fact that your dad never showed up to your little league game, Adam. You hit a home run that day and you looked to the benches, and then you remembered that he was at Amy’s ballet recital. You told yourself, “Hey. That’s okay. I’m the big brother here. Sometimes big brothers have to make sacrifices for their little sisters,” but, deep down? Deep down it felt like he was choosing her over you.
With that in mind, we are now committed to demetrication. We are confident that this will take some of the competitive pressure off of our younger users, and also off of some of our older users who are only just now entering therapy in their late thirties because they grew up in a family that prioritized self-sufficiency. Maybe that’s why some of those users are such good CEOs and business/tech people, actually. Maybe the dissociation that those users have been working on in therapy has allowed them to detach themselves from high-pressure situations so that they can focus on work and be a good leader, and run a major company like Instagram. Do those users even need therapy, guys? Like this post if you think those users are fine without therapy, guys, and please do this soon because I’m seriously about to take the likes away.
We have already begun this process in Brazil, Ireland, and Italy and, in the next week, we will continue demetrication in two or three specific homes in the area of Menlo Park, California. The APA and other health professionals, like Dr. Jon Winter, have made it clear that we need to set some boundaries on the constant scrolling and refreshing for our own mental health. Many of our parents aren’t even on Instagram, after all, and it really seems like some of us are looking for love in all the wrong places even though we’re definitely not going to find what we need on social media.
For the well-being of everyone, we’re going to ask that you implement some of the changes that Dr. Winter has assigned me for therapy homework and then maybe I'll give him a call. I don’t want to seem desperate, obviously, but Dr. Winter’s such a cool guy and he’s super into baseball like I am and he seemed genuinely impressed with how far I hit that ball when I talked about my home run. Maybe I'll ask his opinion on the demetrication thing. He’s such a smart and knowledgeable guy.
We appreciate your support as we begin this transition into what we’re hoping is a healthier and happier community.