By Dave Carlin

OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Some major changes have been unveiled at Facebook and Instagram. The social media platforms are now giving users the option to hide their “likes.”

The 4 billion people users get to decide if that makes them feel less competitive and happier.

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The world’s two most popular social media apps now give you the choice — let people see the number of your likes or hide them. You can opt out of seeing theirs. Or make no change at all, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported Wednesday.

“You post and then you see. You look at what pictures have more likes,” Garden City resident Ryan Norton said.

Critics have said comparing likes can lead to anxiety and depression.

“It’s something that’s like an addiction,” another person said.

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The head of Facebook-owned Instagram, Adam Mosseri, said the idea for this was born in 2019. Then the site tested taking away the likes.

“They can pressurize Instagram and we want to depressurize it,” Mosseri said.

After many users in the test group pushed back, it’s now voluntary.

“They really crave likes,” psychologist and author Dr. Susan Bartell said.

Bartell said taking away likes would not go far enough anyway.

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“Social comparison is a huge problem because it makes us feel inadequate about ourselves. We always are looking at other people and thinking about them being better than us, smarter than us, thinner than us, richer than us,” Bartell said.

“So what should people do about that?” Carlin asked.

“We have to always remember that that’s not real life and we have to focus on what it is in our own lives that we feel good about and happy about, not compared to anyone else,” Bartell said.

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In Eisenhower Park, reactions from people who like Instagram and Facebook the way they are wondered why changing the likes is necessary.

“I probably wouldn’t take my time to switch it,” Norton said.

“I could definitely see the influencers and that sort of Instagram crowd being a little bit defeated by it,” Nicole Renault added.

Influencers and brands will keep making money, still able to keep count.

Bartell has the following advice:

“If you put yourself on a social media diet. That’s really the best way to help yourself kind of feel better about yourself and not compare yourself to other people,” Bartell said.

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Monitor yourself, because none of this posting, liking and keeping score will go away.

Dave Carlin