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Kanye West says nobody should know how many people follow them on Instagram and Twitter

Andrew Griffin
West attends the Ralph Lauren fashion show during New York Fashion Week earlier this month: Getty

Social networks are ruining people’s mental health and we should be protected from knowing how many likes and followers we have, Kanye West has said.

The star has been in contact with the heads of the world’s biggest social media companies to argue that such vanity metrics are undermining the people who use them. And conversations shared by West seem to show that the tech industry is listening.

It is unclear what began West’s confrontation with tech companies and such metrics. But he has been engaged in an active campaign against them in recent days, posting a flurry of tweets and Instagram posts about them.

“There are people who are committing suicide due to not getting enough likes,” he wrote on Twitter. “Seeking validation in the simulation.”

He then listed the founders of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat and said they need a “live-streamed meeting” to address the problem.

Later posts made clear that West has been in contact with at least some of those companies. He shared a conversation between himself and Snapchat’s head of partnerships, for instance, in which he agreed with West’s criticism of those posts.

An earlier Instagram post from West appeared to show a conversation with Jack Dorsey, the CEO and one of the founders of Twitter. In that post, Mr Dorsey appeared to suggest that he was considering taking on West’s criticisms, and that Twitter could downplay the likes and follower counts that have become such a central part of the network.

Another post on West’s Instagram included an edited image that appeared to depict surgeons installing a heart in someone – but the heart was the like image that is used on Instagram. “A lot of human beings think this is what love means,” he captioned the picture.

West has been unusually active on social media in recent weeks. That appears to be ahead of the release of a new album, Yandhi, which looks set to be released at the end of this month.