Instagram co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Mike Krieger made a rare response on Twitter this week to deny accusations that the social media platform deliberately withholds and then drip-feeds likes in order to keep nudging users to return to the app.
Matt Mayberry, who works at a California startup called Dopamine Labs, says it's common knowledge in the industry that Instagram exploits this craving by strategically withholding "likes" from certain users. If the photo-sharing app decides you need to use the service more often, it'll show only a fraction of the likes you've received on a given post at first, hoping you'll be disappointed with your haul and check back again in a minute or two. "They're tying in to your greatest insecurities," Mr. Mayberry said.
Notably, Mayberry is Head of Business Development for Dopamine Labs, a company that researches and develops code for apps in order to boost user engagement by tapping into the dopamine produced when a user receives gratification. Mayberry has not responded since Krieger stated Instagram's denial.
Krieger stated in another tweet that any delay between people liking and notifications appearing was a result of cache invalidation/replication. Coravos has been keen to quell conspiracy theories and speculation since her original inquiry.
The Globe and Mail article gives a fascinating series of insights into the psychology behind our addiction to mobile devices, examining how they exploit our insecurities and give us the impression that we are in control of the data that appears on our screens.
[Lead image by Luke Porter via Unsplash]