Facebook admits social media use can be bad for users’ mental health – a sign that the company is feeling pressure from the growing criticism about its impact on society. Citing a scientific research on well-being and social media, Facebook has put emphasizes on the two sides of using social media – the good and the bad. The company said in a blog post,
“According to the research, it really comes down to how you use the technology.”
Experts have found that the too much social media use lead people to depression and low self-esteem. However, tech giants have tended to avoid the tricky issue. In the blog post, Facebook’s director of research David Ginsberg and research scientist Moira Burke has acknowledged that social media can leave people ‘feeling worse’.
They further state that passively scrolling through your FB News Feed to see who’s enjoying the holidays or getting married may make you feel blue. However, Mr. Ginsberg argues that if you make use of the site to chat with friends and share your experiences, it can be favorable. Despite these revelations, Facebook bizarrely claimed that using the site more will actually improve well-being.
Researchers have done an experiment in which some randomly selected students of the University of Michigan are assigned to read Facebook for 10 minutes. At the end of the day, they were in the worse mood than they assigned to post or talk to friends on Facebook. The blog post reads,
“In general when people spend a lot of time passively consuming information – reading but not interacting with people – they report feeling worse afterwards.”
A study from the University of California has shown that people, who liked twice as many posts as the average person or who clicked on about four times as many links as the average person, has worse mental health as compared to an average person. Though the causes are unclear, researchers think that reading about others on the web may lead to negative social comparison. Another study indicates that the intense social media use takes people away from the individual community engagement.
On the other hand, the blog post suggests that actively interacting with people, especially sharing messages, posts, and comments with loved ones and recollecting past memories may lead to enhancements in well-being. Facebook has conducted a study with Carnegie Mellon University in which it has been found that people who sent or received more messages, Timeline posts, and comments have improvements in loneliness, social support, and depression.
Mr. Ginsberg has stated that Facebook is working on new developments to persuade engagement, letting people personalize their feeds and block posts that may have a negative impact on them.
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