Instagram’s New Wellbeing Team Hopes to Battle Platform’s Mental Health Issues
April 3, 2018 | BY Tara Mahadevan
It’s no secret that Instagram is the visual showcase of everyone’s best life, and is often affiliated with a number of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, bullying, and a negative body image. Last year, Britain’s Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) released a survey that rated Instagram as the no. 1 worst social media network for mental health and wellbeing.
But finally, it looks like the social media platform is attempting to alleviate those problems, with something called a Wellbeing Team, which is devoted to fostering a better sense of happiness for Instagram users, per The Quartzy.
“[The team’s] entire focus is focusing on the wellbeing of the community,” head of Instagram’s fashion partnerships, Eva Chen, said when answering a question about its parent company, Facebook, and its impact on mental health. “Making the community a safer place, a place where people feel good, is a huge priority for Instagram,” she continued, “I would say one of the top priorities.”
Ameet Ranadive made a quick announcement about the new team in December, via Twitter, sharing that he, “decided to join the product leadership team at Instagram!” As Twitter’s former vice president of revenue product, Ranadive had come aboard as the director of product for the social media company’s Wellbeing Team. He also shared a story that Wired had written in August 2017 that “talks more about the work from this team.”
It isn’t evident whether the formation of the Wellbeing Team is connected to the RSPH study. According to The Quartzy, over the past year, a company spokesperson revealed that the company has “reassessed priorities” and rolled out a handful of new features that endorse a positive Instagram community.
The new features largely consist of content moderation tools, such as offensive comment filters that, instead of deleting inappropriate comments, automatically hide them. Users are also given the opportunity to make their own comment filters. Additionally, the site has created teams that examine anonymous reports of posts made by individuals who might need access to mental health support—Instagram then puts these individuals in touch with groups that offer aid.
Instagram hasn’t revealed much else about the Wellbeing Team, beyond the fact that Ranadive has joined as the team’s director of product, with the aim to “prevent spam, abuse and harassment” on Instagram.