Instagram CTO Denies Tactics that Deliberately Exploit Human Psychology

Instagram CTO Denies Tactics that Deliberately Exploit Human Psychology

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.

Coravos initially raised the issue on Twitter after discovering the allegation from Matt Mayberry who was quoted in an article for The Globe And Mail:

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.

As reported by QZ.comKrieger responded to Andy Coravos, a digital rights advocate and CEO of ElektraLabs.

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]

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Gabrielle Colton's picture

I turn off all my notifications so I don't feel like I have to check it on someone else's watch.. it's never ending

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Good, it's literally soul-sucking lol

Jonathan Brady's picture

Anyone ever seen one of those lab experiments where rodents can press a button for a rush of dopamine? They just end up pressing the button repeatedly, to the detriment of their own health. THAT is social media. And social media exists because of advertising revenue.
Remember... YOU are the product being sold (to the advertisers who want to sell you whatever s**t you don't need that they have to offer). And you're dopamine-happy for the privilege.

Michael Holst's picture

Going to school for advertising. Can confirm!

michael buehrle's picture

of corse he did. what did you expect him to say ?

Tim Behuniak's picture

Another interesting topic to investigate would be Instagram's apparent "shadow-banning" on certain accounts :0

I am pissed with Facebook. Anytime I respond to an entry using the Android app, the app pushes Instagram to download.

Gabrielle Colton's picture

Woah that's weird and annoying, haven't noticed that on my Iphone but it could be happening there too