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You Can Mute People on Instagram Now

Summer 2018 will be extra shady. Instagram is rolling out a new feature that lets you easily mute accounts so you can better control what appears in your news feed. You no longer have to unfollow a person to digitally ignore them. 

Photo Credit: Giphy

For businesses, Instagram’s mute button just might become a giant marketing migraine. The only way to ensure a follower views your company’s images or videos is if you pay for it. A follower could technically mute a brand’s account from appearing in their feed, but they cannot stop sponsored content.

Major brands, creative professionals and startups will end up having to pay more for advertising on the platform. Whether through influencers or directly sponsored content, they will have to fork up extra cash and enhance the production value of content campaigns in order to guarantee views (since paid posts can’t be muted). Unless of course, Instagram provides a free analytics feature for brands to view info on the followers choosing to ignore them. And why do that? It’s best for Facebook’s billion dollar baby to keep us all guessing as per usual.

Photo Credit: Instagram Info Center

The mute button is part of a new wave of features Instagram will be rolling out this year. Specifically, the social networking platform will add a “You’re All Caught Up” tool and a “Usage Insights” feature that allows users to better monitor how their time is spent on the app. Earlier this month, CEO Kevin Systrom tweeted, “We’re building tools that will help the IG [Instagram] community know more about the time they spend on Instagram—any time should be positive and intentional.”

Heavy social media use has become the new refined sugar. And Instagram’s mute button is like opting for a Diet Coke. The #StatusofMind report published by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) in the U.K. recently found that social media networks have a negative impact on young people between the ages of 14-24. Out of all of the major platforms (including Twitter, YouTube and Facebook), the researchers determined that Instagram and SnapChat were the most harmful to overall mental health and well-being.

Photo Credit: @calumheath

In a highly visual and information-driven era, tech companies like Instagram cannot afford to ignore mental health concerns. Adding the mute button is both a PR move and a brilliant example of corporate social responsibility. Systrom also tweeted, “Understanding how time online impacts people is important, and it’s the responsibility of all companies to be honest about this. We want to be part of the solution. I take that responsibility seriously.”

The #StatusofMind report also happens to recommend that social networking sites like Instagram should add a digital watermark to any filtered or heavily airbrushed photos to combat the body image anxieties experienced by young women. Imagine if Instagram were to actually take on their suggestion and start charging for the removal of the watermark. All digital hell would break loose.

Considering the widespread concern for greater privacy controls and online bullying, I believe the era of paid, personalized customization for all social networking platforms is near. The end days of #nofilter humble bragging are coming. But please, don’t mute me.

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