Facebook recently admitted what a lot of people have long suspected—that social media can be bad for you. It's a ballsy move, considering that Mark Zuckerberg and company have built an empire based on the largest social media platform in the world.
— Marston Rogers Group (@MarstonRogersGp) December 22, 2017
Facebook Admits it Might Be Bad
Facebook made the startling admission on a company blog post titled Hard Questions: Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us?
According to Facebook researchers David Ginsberg and Moira Burke, users who “spend a lot of time passively consuming information—reading but not interacting with people—report feeling worse afterward.” In other words, users who just scroll through news feeds, click on links, “like” posts, or share status updates without really engaging with others feel less satisfied with their Facebook experience. The post even linked back to a study that revealed users who clicked on links and “likes” more than the average user are more prone to physical and mental distress.
The premise is hardly shocking. Researchers from the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health from the University of Melbourne have stated that there's a link between social media usage and anxiety, depression, eating issues, and sleep problems. Meanwhile, a survey has found that sites like Instagram are aggravating young people's body image and confidence issues.
Is More Social Media the Answer?
Despite Facebook's admission that social media might be detrimental to you, it also said that the platform can also do you a lot of good. But that would entail doing more on Facebook than just clicking on Like. As it turns out, having more in-depth interaction on Facebook can do wonders for your self-esteem and social standing. And by more interaction, the post's authors mean reacting, sharing ideas, posting comments, and engaging in discussions with other Facebook users.
Ginsberg and Burke also mentioned another study that showed a more positive finding. Said study showed that Facebook users who posted comments and joined give-and-take discussions on the service felt better about the experience.
As the Facebook post stated, sharing status updates is not enough, “people had to interact one-on-one with others in their network.”
It appears that Facebook, in essence, is saying that how you feel about the platform depends on how you use it. And if you want to have a better experience, perhaps you should be using it more often and interacting with other users on a deeper level.
Incidentally, the blog post also revealed a number of new and upcoming changes that will reportedly encourage more interactions between Facebook account holders and maybe cause them to spend more hours on the social media platform.
Facebook have acknowledged, for the first time, that social media can negatively impact your mental health.
We asked people what effect is has on them. pic.twitter.com/ZBMEgJswLZ
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) December 18, 2017
At the end of the day though, Facebook is still a business. Its shareholders have visions for expansion and profit. Admitting that their product is bad is not good for business. Pushing for a bigger and better Facebook is better.
Still, kudos to the Zuckerberg and his team for doing their best to improve social media's impact on the world. The company has been facing some heat over how people use its product, especially after the last U.S. presidential election and the proliferation of fake news.[Featured image via YouTube]