If it wasn’t enough for Social Media to impede into our personal lives, a new algorithm has been developed that can determine whether a person is depressed based on their Instagram posts. Developed by researchers from Harvard and the University of Vermont, the algorithm traces the state of a person’s mental health through the Instagram filter choices.
It was noted that people who were depressed, used filters like Inkwell filter to post images that contained darker and grayer colors than those posted by those without the mental illness. The researchers also used some images of Instagram users and let the algorithm sort the information to find out what photo features are common among people with depression and people without depression.
The program looked through four distinct categories of information: color and brightness, number of faces in the photo, use of Instagram filters and metadata including number of comments or likes. The algorithm looked at images posted by the Instagram users and was able to correctly identify 70 percent of those with depression. It was noted that photos with bluer, grayer, and darker tones as well as receiving fewer likes than those posted by healthy individuals were all found to be key indications of a user’s depression.
The aim of the study was to find some similarities between those with depression and the way they post photos, so with this kind of accuracy, scientists and social workers are hoping that they will be able to look for people with depression and cut down the suicide rates! If that’s the aim, we certainly love this algorithm!