Instagram is the new porn

Discussion in 'Porn Addiction' started by TheMathFolder, Mar 17, 2021.

  1. TheMathFolder

    TheMathFolder Fapstronaut

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    Instagram turned ten years old not very long ago (it was originally released on October 6th, 2010).
    As a porn addict, I've struggled a lot with Instagram. It's like that bad influence that tells a recovering alcoholic "come on, it's just a drink, take at least one sip". Going into Instagram was often a slippery slope and it has triggered me to relapse on more than one occasion, to the point where I decided to pretty much not use it anymore.

    However, Instagram wasn't always like that.
    To commemorate its anniversary, I decided to write a story about Instagram's history. But, instead of focusing on all the great achievements that everybody else was writing about, I placed the focus on something else: the evolution of its content, towards more and more sexualized material.
    I wanted to share with you guys a summarized version of the story so that we can reflect on what Instagram has become for many of us, and hopefully call out some of the negative consequences its content has on the users in general, and on people that are struggling with an addiction to porn like us in particular.

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    An article from the New York Times described Instagram on June 3rd, 2011 as a platform where people would "snap and post pictures of anything, like pretty wallpaper at a restaurant or artsy close-ups of their cat climbing on the bed in the morning, offering a behind-the-scenes look at their lives".

    This is pretty much how I remember it. Back then, the idea that I had of Instagram was that it was an app for people that didn’t know much about photography but liked to pretend they did. However, as people moved in from Facebook and other social media platforms, its idiosyncrasy started to shift.
    Although the social aspect had been a key part of Instagram from the beginning and selfies were abundant in the platform since day one, going mainstream pressed on the transition towards more self-centered content, and the artsy pictures began to fade away from the average user’s profile. Eventually, that culture of self-promotion boomed, giving birth to the world of models and influencers that make up a core part of what we know as Instagram today.

    In the original story, I use Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez's profiles as a way to illustrate this shift in content. They both currently rank in the top ten accounts with the most followers on the platform, and their profiles are generally a phenomenal display of narcissism, with them starring in pretty much all the posts, whether it's selfies, promotional images, or sexy photoshoots. However, if you go back to 2011 or 2013, the years when they each joined Instagram, you find a completely different kind of content: random scenes from their day-to-day lives, sceneries, normal pictures with friends...
    Certainly these two profiles do not alone prove my point, but the trend is bigger than them, and I’ve personally seen it in profiles of all kinds (celebrities or not). I myself joined Instagram in 2016, when the platform wasn’t too different from what it is today, and yet, moved by my outdated mental image of what I thought the app was, I fired up my profile with a series of pastel color pictures of city locations and tall trees against clear skies, trying really hard to look like another cool guy in the coolest social network. It was only after some time that I looked around me and realized the kind of place I was really in. I started to adapt and my profile followed, featuring myself and my friends more and more, and even adding a couple of selfies to the mix.

    Like me, many people have transitioned at some point towards more self-centered content. For some, that evolution ended up leading to sexually charged profiles more akin to a lingerie catalog than to a social media account. None of this is surprising, and it’s easy to understand where it all comes from.

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    In an effort to provide some background that helps understand what’s leading Instagram’s content evolution, I devised a little fun experiment to prove one of the oldest and most widely accepted maxims: that sex sells.

    The experiment is very simple. I analyzed a series of Instagram posts, ranking them based on how much of the person is revealed in the image, then making a note of how many likes it gets. The idea, of course, is to study the correlation between how sexualized a post is and how popular it gets on the app. To keep it varied, I used profiles belonging to six, very differentiated categories: celebrities, fashion, fitness, food, travel, and regular users (i.e. friends of mine that are not influencers).
    The chart below shows the overall results when taking all the profiles into account.

    graph.png

    There is a significant correlation between the exposure level and the relative number of likes. In other words, the results confirm what most of you already knew: that people like your sexy selfies better than your pictures of the sunset.

    I also broke the results down into their respective categories, to see the differences between users that follow each type of account. The correlation was strong in all the categories, with one exception: food. Apparently, users that follow these profiles do not care much about your pictures posing next to the food or the selfies you take while cooking it. Even though this might sound obvious, it’s really just a breath of fresh air in a platform where, even in the most aseptic niches, users are fighting to stay relevant through personal self-promotion. After all, why would people that are into traveling be more interested in your picture of the Macchu Picchu when you are posing shirtless in it? And even more oddly, why would a fashion fan like your pictures better the fewer clothes you wear?

    Driven by their lust for likes and aware of the shortcuts to get them, Instagram users began to post content that was more and more revealing. The plethora of self-proclaimed professional influencers around them only motivated some users even further, in a search for followers that had the potential to turn into a way to make a living.

    And it is at this point that Instagram's recommendation algorithm kicks in to speed things up. Because sex sells and users are likely to click on and like pictures of half-naked, attractive people, the algorithm learns to feed you more and more of that content and to prioritize it over other less sexualized posts. After a while, this has the potential to turn your Instagram into a softcore porn app.

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    I know it because that’s what my Instagram used to be. As a user, I was never too interested in my friends’ boring attempts to fake a fancy lifestyle or into the latest pop star's album photoshoot, but my simple brain sure was drawn to that pop star’s tits and my friend’s booty. After a while, and despite me never actually liking or commenting on any of these posts, the algorithm caught on my creepy lust through my clicks, viewing times, and visits to profiles, and started doing its work.

    The results were most noticeable in my Instagram’s Explore section, which by all appearances is fed by the same algorithm that populates the newsfeed. Varied pictures of celebrities, trips to Ha Long Bay, and aerial views of low-carb meals were slowly being replaced by more and more posts of female models and influencers in sexy outfits. I was a laboratory mouse in Instagram’s own twisted version of the Rat Park, an oblivious participant in the experiment they had set up to identify the perfect conditions to keep me as addicted to their app as possible. Every click on those posts reinforced the algorithm’s strategy, and soon enough my Explore section was fully populated by sexualized content, looking more like an issue of Playboy (at least one from that short period in 2016 where the magazine stopped featuring full-frontal nudity) than a display of social recommendations.

    As a person that has been struggling for many years with a crippling addiction to Internet porn, this was more than just a nuisance for me. Browsing through Instagram was often a triggering experience that would get me horny and eventually lead me to watch porn. I'm therefore not surprised to see in this forum how an increasingly popular piece of advice given to the newcomers is to either uninstall Instagram or use it with forethought. I noticed this pattern within myself, and, realizing how little else the app was bringing to my life, I decided to remove it altogether. Never having been a very active user, this wasn’t a very traumatic decision for me, but I still must say that I do not miss it a tiny bit.

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    Instagram’s growing sexualization is, of course, not a unique problem. It’s common to other social media platforms, TikTok and its army of teenage dancers being one of the latest examples. It is not exclusive to social apps either. Much has been said throughout the years about the increasing sexualization of all types of media, from magazines to television shows, commercials, and movies. The phenomenon has often been conveniently tied to the sexual liberation movement and capitalized from it. However, there is a great difference between the open discussion and wide acceptance of sex in all its forms, and the exploitation of a human soft spot as a marketing tool for corporate benefit — and it’s an important difference to make.

    I don’t consider myself to be a prude. I’m not a religious person either. I’m an advocate of quality sex education to get rid of repression and taboos, and I defend everybody’s freedom to enjoy sex with whoever they like and in whatever fashion they fancy. And, at the same time, I would like to condemn the indiscriminate and widespread use of sexualized imagery in the media and the negative consequences it has on all of us, particularly on the youth. These are not incompatible stances nor should they ever be treated as such.

    Instagram has truly come a long way since it started as a platform to share artsy pictures. Throughout its incredible evolution, it lost its original essence in favor of a more self-obsessed and sexualized culture, some of whose characteristics and negative implications we have discussed here. It is now on their hands, as much as it’s on ours, to pivot away from the current trend. Only then will Instagram reconcile with what it has always been — a platform that truly connects and enhances people’s lives — as opposed to a mere catalog of softcore material to masturbate to. In other words, an app that we can all love and enjoy, and not just the new porn.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2021
  2. ZenAF

    ZenAF Fapstronaut

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    I hear ya. The trend is real. My Instagram exploration section is basically art, ass and tits. I can't help but look. Or NOT scroll passed it fast enough, which the algo also notices. I've installed TikTok recently and man that algorithm is so good, it only took it 10min without me searching for anything, to know that I'm a dude and it started spamming me with wobbling asses and titties.

    To the credit of Instagram tho: I've intentionally looked at and liked pictures that have nothing to do with girls and the algorithm changed relatively fast.
    Instagram doesn't force you to look at that stuff, there's so much content on there, it's really up to your attention (which unfortunately is often, let's say, unconsciously distributed) as to what you're going to see on these apps.
    The fact that there were a lot more artsy photographs at first has not much to say in my book, it just takes a little time before those superficial "let's use it for this" rules are broken and whatever sells, sells. TikTok for months now isn't just the domain of dancing teenage girls anymore. Every serious company that understands social media got on TikTok, I'm a freelancer I'll start making content soon as well. Ride the wave or be forgotten.

    Anyway it's not like you have to be a hot chick to have a successful Instagram account, it's more like most people don't have that much control and awareness over what they look at. Even when I'm with a girlfriend and there's a super hot girl around us I will wait for a moment where I can take a sneak peak on her booty while no one's watching me. It's fckin nature, what to do. So of course when no one's watching me and all I gotta do is swipe, I'll look too..

    So fact 1 is: You have control over what you see on there. The soft porn (even tho available in huge amounts) isn't forced on you. So it's your fault.
    Fact 2: Naked skin garners more attention than anything else, so it will always be "unfair" to people who don't abuse it. That will never change. We're taking power away from big corporations because everybody can create a business now because of these platforms. Before you had to have huge capital to make ads, not anymore. Well that has it's price. When there's only a few known companies competing against each other like back in the day the rest of society can morally judge them and the amount of sex is controlled. But when most of society is competing against each other, anything goes, whoever starts to use the a-bombs first, wins.

    Also cut these whores some slack(and they are whores, using their bodies to essentially make a living and I'm their customer, even tho I don't pay with money). Live is hard and costly. And everybody can see through these platforms how good life can be when you make some money.

    Yes society get's oversexualized. But if you constrict that you'll constrict the positive effects too. At the end of the day you'll have to trust that enough people slowly develop self-awareness and control.
     
    TheMathFolder likes this.
  3. pump20

    pump20 Fapstronaut

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    Turn it off. Turn it off. It got quiet did it? That goes out for other social medias too like Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, Snapchat, etc.
     
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  4. PanteriMauzer

    PanteriMauzer Fapstronaut

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    I was never turned by social media or instagram or whatever , pics never aroused me much, videos.....alot
     
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  5. Candun

    Candun Fapstronaut

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    This is part of the reason I'm generally not a fan of social media. I still keep Snapchat though to stay in touch with friends.
     
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  6. SickSicko

    SickSicko Fapstronaut

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    10 years? Like...for real?
    I've never used it and in my head is like "that new thing that was released yesterday"
    No wonder young people look at me weirded when I say I'd never used it.
     
  7. everydayitgetseasier

    everydayitgetseasier Fapstronaut

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    I also quit all social media inclkuding reddit/youtube but I keep snapchat around for the group chats with irl friends. my trick is to never go to the stories page, just use it as a messenger really.
     
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  8. Loving Loveless

    Loving Loveless Fapstronaut

    You took the words... Glad you mentioned this. Many when referring to a social platform in a negative manner relating to PMO addiction, always seemto forget the rest and zero im on the problem of one, rather than the problem in all.


    Really nice read.
     
    TheMathFolder likes this.
  9. Loving Loveless

    Loving Loveless Fapstronaut

    I get those looks as well. To the point that my brother made a profile for me. I don't use it, because, well culture. Culture plays a subtle part. How we communicate, how other normally communicate. For us in the Caribbean, What'sApp triumphs over the others in personal use. Therefore, the efficient individual would not need facebook or instagram.
     
  10. Lovelife247

    Lovelife247 Fapstronaut

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    Can’t blame the platform, I looked at wife’s IG search page yesterday and it was fine. Mine looks like models and the nba because that’s what I’m looking at. You can’t be mad when life holds the mirror back up at you. That’s why learning to controlling it is more important than eradicating it.
     
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  11. Loving Loveless

    Loving Loveless Fapstronaut

    Saw an Airline began last year. Depsite the push to ban the platform in many nations due to users disregard for cultural sites.
     
  12. everydayitgetseasier

    everydayitgetseasier Fapstronaut

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    I think the problem is the platform applifies your base desires, which it should to be successful. I don't think people here are critisizing the platform design but rather using the platform, and what they all eventually devolve into. Imagine your 8-12 year old son on tik tok or something watching a bunch of 12-20 year old girls twerk in skin tight 'butt crack leggings' or whatever the fuck those are called. Its not good for the girls, its not good for the boys, and I think its hard to not have the algorithm push you in that direction if you are a high sex drive guy, so best to steer clear all together IMO. controlling it seems really easy but its literally designed to control you.
     
  13. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Fapstronaut

    I have found that non-pmo social media was a precursor to mming/ p, fmo etc.
    It creates a state of overstimulation and anxiety - even when you think you're doing it for positive reasons. Ironically, I fell into this loop five+ years ago looking for motivating images for my moodboard...

    Getting overexcited when home or isolated with a computer is just not a good idea.

    Social media CAN be useful but you need to put heavy boundaries on it.

    For instagram - try removing the phone/device apps and just use the site on a desktop for designated times- that eliminates a lot of the social hooks the put in.
     
    TheMathFolder likes this.
  14. Very good information here. It mostly is the new porn. Ego porn. Half the models on there use an only fans and lure men in. It’s sick. it just shows you what effect it’s having on men and women. Women are getting money and an ego trip, men are being Simps and keep their addiction. The sad thing is, those models are showing by off their body, it’s zero self respect. Maybe there isn’t a problem but we just notice more women like that. It’s easy to access.
     
  15. Well written and a good read.
    I have turned away from Instagram because of the sexual content and because it’s such a narcissistic platform.
     
  16. TheMathFolder

    TheMathFolder Fapstronaut

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    That was a great reply, and you bring up some interesting points.
    Instagram sure does not have an inherent bias towards nudity, it just follows your lead. So, at the end of the day, yes it is our fault, but I don't think that lets the platform completely off the hook.
    These recommendation algorithms exploit a weakness in many of us, just like a slot machine would do to a gambling addict even if no one is forcing the person to sit down and play it. So, in my opinion, the platforms are part of the problem and they deserve to be put on the spot as well and be held accountable to some extent.

    It's tricky to take formal measures against these platforms but, at the very minimum, it would be great to raise awareness about the negative consequences that social media in general and its sexualization in particular can have on users, because many might not have even stopped to think about it. I'm humbly trying to contribute to this by writing posts like this one.
    Maybe, once there's more awareness in society, that starts putting a little bit of pressure on these companies, so that they feel forced to improve their platforms and be more user-friendly, if only from fear of losing users and therefore money (which, at the end of the day and being realistic, is the only thing that is going to motivate any company to make any change). And I think there is room to reduce the dangers of these tools without limiting the great possibilities they offer.
     
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  17. TheMathFolder

    TheMathFolder Fapstronaut

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    Thanks!
    Yeah I did not want to forget to mention that... the conversation about the sexualization of media and its consequences has been alive for a long time. It just seems to be even more relevant now, because on top of commercials and ads, television, movies, etc. now people spend hours scrolling past social media posts. So the bombardment is only getting worse.
     
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  18. TheMathFolder

    TheMathFolder Fapstronaut

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    I understand that that's what's happening and that one should focus first of all on fixing their own habits, rather than blaming the tool.
    But, as I said to another commenter, one of the points that I try to make in the story is that the platforms play their own part in this and absolutely deserve to be held responsible as well. Your bad habits do not validate these companies trying to exploit them to keep you hooked to their app at the expense of your mental health.

    Sure, I don't advocate for banning social media platforms, but I will still condemn some of their behaviors and try to raise awareness.
    They are part of the problem and there are things that they can do to take better care of their users. As it happens, Instagram has actually already taken steps in a good direction. I didn't include it in the summary that I posted here, but in the original story I do mention how they have been experimenting for a while with hiding the number of likes from other users, to try to avoid the unhealthy competition and constant comparison that drive some people nuts.
    That's just one example of how a tool can be made better for their users in the long term, despite perhaps short-term negative consequences for the company profits.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2021
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  19. Lovelife247

    Lovelife247 Fapstronaut

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    Insta is worst for me. I had to delete it. I’ll sign on from my wife’s phone if I want to check it. I hate blaming the programs it’s really self control but easier said then done for sure. Some said something about 8-12 yr olds that’s my kids range and they don’t have Facebook or social media. Besides the porn we gotta look at how those sites effect us. Looking at highlight reels of folks life on how they want to “appear” is false. I like going to men’s group where people get real and show that other side not just the highlight reels.
     
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  20. IGY

    IGY Fapstronaut
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    That's a challenge man. How have you educated them about healthy sexual relationships and the dangers of PMO?
     

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