Internet users have decided that the "Like" button on sites like Facebook and Instagram is one of the most toxic features on social media.
The Royal Socitey for Public Health in the United Kingdom commissioned a new research to find out which aspects of social media that the public deem as the most toxic or most meaningful. More than 2,000 teenagers and adults have responded.
The Most Toxic, Most Meaningful Elements Of Social Media
The poll revealed that triggering content, or content that reminds a person of negative or traumatic experience, is the element of social media that people think is the most toxic. This is followed by the "Like" button found in many of these online platforms, including Facebook that boasts of 1.59 billion daily active users (as of June 2019) and Instagram that has 500 million daily active users.
After the "Like" button, the respondents said that the push notification, which alerts users of new activity when they are not browsing their social media accounts, is also a negative aspect of these sites. FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, and pressure from celebrities and influencer complete the top five.
The research also revealed that almost one-quarter of young adult responders (18 to 24 years old) think that push notification, which makes them return to the site, is the most toxic element. Meanwhile, among 16 and 17-year-olds, the most toxic element of social media is bullying. Men are also three times more likely to find FOMO as the most toxic part of using social media compared to women.
On the other hand, the poll found that memes are the most meaningful part of social media among internet users. The responders also revealed that having the platform to hold organizations and public figures accountable to their wrongdoings is also one of the best perks of sites like Twitter.
Social media users say that the platforms allow them access to health information and study resources. Also, they get to learn about other culture and societies by being connected online.
"Along with our campaign to raise public awareness and help users build balanced relationships with social media, there is also a duty of care that falls on the industry," stated Shirley Cramer, chief executive of RSPH. "The architecture of social media must be built to encourage meaningful use and, most importantly, place the user behind the wheel."
Stepping Away From Social Media
The new research was made in part to promote "Scroll Free September," a campaign by the RSPH that encourages the public to take a break from social media. According to the organization, participants who will go cold turkey and turn away from their online profiles will be able to gain back 100 hours of their lives by joining the campaign that begins on Sunday, Sept. 1.
Last year, 300,000 people took part in Scroll Free September. About 77 percent of the participants said that joining the campaign improved their mental health, 63 percent claimed that it improved their awareness of the world around them, and 58 percent reported improved quality of sleep.