Science & Tech

Instagram users slam 'negative' trend which pressures them to avoid ‘unluckiest’ 2024

Instagram users slam 'negative' trend which pressures them to avoid ‘unluckiest’ 2024

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It’s a new year, and of course Instagram users have been keen to share photos and videos with their followers, but one trend which has emerged on the platform this week - which utilises the ‘Add Yours’ feature – has been criticised for being “full of negative emotions and anxiety”.

One template, which has been circulating on Instagram Stories, calls on individuals to “post a random photo otherwise 2024 gonna be the unluckiest year of your life” and has been used by more than 570,000 accounts.

A second template has since been shared on the app slamming the original trend, with text reading: “I think we should really stop the ‘post this or bad month/year etc’ things. It’s so full of negative emotions and anxiety.

“Why not start 2024 with a positive vibe?

“So… here’s an ‘add a picture from your camera roll that you really love. Just because you can!”

It’s not the first template to use the threat of “bad luck” to encourage people to post to their Stories, as previous templates have told users to share pictures of pets and them from five years ago based on superstition.

The trends have been slammed by mental health campaigners, including those with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – a condition which causes sufferers to experience distressing thoughts on a regular basis and carry out mental or physical compulsions to provide temporary relief - who say the posts are “a huge trigger”.

In an Instagram post from January 2023, neurodivergent and chronically ill creator Sara Wessie wrote: “They make me painfully anxious, stressed and can lead to panic attacks. They also set off some at times really disturbing intrusive thoughts.

“The only reason I don’t share one every time I see it is the thought of putting someone else through this.

“It’s such a small thing, but the tags that ask you to share photos without the threat of negative reinforcement are easier to ignore – and actually fun and cute to do!”

Meanwhile, Instagram account @jess.recoveryjourney recently posted: “Seemingly, as with anything that provides a chance to boost followers or profile engagement, it has become a clout chasing ‘trend’ that many of us with OCD (particularly those who struggle with magical thinking) dread seeing.

“It can leave us with the urge to delete social media or avoid it and whilst that may not seem like a ‘big deal’, it is very unfair and incredibly frustrating, even more so since it really could be prevented.

“Share, or don’t because a silly little Instagram trend cannot and will never be able to dictate the future. Not sharing whatever it may be is not going to cause anything bad to happen, I promise you.

“And if anything remotely negative was to happen, I can assure you that not performing this superstitious compulsion was most definitely not the reason.”

Mental health non-profit Made of Millions have also highlighted the trend, sharing a video to the platform which said: “It might seem necessary to repost in order to stay ‘safe’. In reality, it just promotes compulsive behaviours. Especially for people with magical thinking, a subset of OCD where you think your thoughts/actions have some sort of magical effect.

“It can involve ‘thought action fusion’, which is the false belief that simply thinking about a thought makes it more likely to happen.”

Information and support about OCD can be found on the NHS, OCD Action and OCD UK websites.

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