SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Instagram users are more attracted to social news or entertainment than political or controversial images, according to the latest study.
The study, conducted by researchers at the U.S. University of Missouri, was published in the recent edition of the Visual Communication Quarterly journal. It suggested that Instagram users often "felt badly about 'liking' a photo of a tragedy," although an average of 4.2 billion "likes" occur on the popular media-sharing app every day.
Many users would turn to other sources when they seek serious news stories. While on Instagram, they usually want to find something lighter and entertaining, the study found.
The researchers also discovered that people are more likely to view Instagram as a refuge from the worries of everyday life.
Among Instagram users, feature lovers prefer captivating photos that showcase adventure and travel, while optimists go for uplifting and funny images.
People interested in news stories were found to be more strongly attracted to images having to do with politics and global culture.
News images presented in an aesthetically pleasing and empowering way tend to catch the attention of Instagram users.
"Most users in our study preferred simple, clean images," said Keith Greenwood, associate professor of journalism at the University of Missouri.
Images with fewer people in them are more likely to attract reactions or likes, while those pictures with watermarks or familiar, recognizable landmarks are less popular among Instagram users.
"Instagram users are more drawn to photos that show a place they wouldn't see every day," Greenwood said.
Instagram has more than 800 million registered users.