Facebook Scientists: Too Much Facebook Is Bad For Your Mental Health!


New Delhi: Two Facebook scientists have recently admitted on a Facebook blog that the Social media giant is definitely mentally harmful for us in the long run.

David Ginsberg, Director of Research, and Moira Burke, Research Scientist at Facebook put up a blog that talked about the bad effects of social media networking on people and what to do about it.

They talked about three critical questions; Is spending more time on social media good for us? Do people connect in meaningful ways online? Are people simply consuming trivial updates and polarizing memes at the expense of time with loved ones?

The company’s public recognition of some of its platform’s detrimental effects comes after Sean Parker, the former president of Facebook, said the company's founders intentionally built the site to consume as much human attention as possible.

"It literally changes your relationship with society, with each other; it probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains."

"The inventors, creators... understood this consciously. And we did it anyway," Parker said.

It all depends on how we use the technology 
The Facebook scientists said that on social media, you can passively scroll through posts, much like watching TV, or actively interact with friends, messaging and commenting on each other’s posts.

Just like in person, interacting with people you care about can be beneficial, while simply watching others from the sidelines may make you feel worse.

In general, when people spend a lot of time passively consuming information — reading but not interacting with people — they report feeling worse afterward.

In one experiment, University of Michigan students randomly assigned to read Facebook for 10 minutes were in a worse mood at the end of the day than students assigned to post or talk to friends on Facebook.

Though the causes aren’t clear, researchers hypothesize that reading about others online might lead to negative social comparison. Another theory is that the internet takes people away from social engagement in person.

Positive effects
On the other hand, actively interacting with people like sharing messages, posts and comments with close friends and reminiscing about past interactions is linked to improvements in well-being.

A study conducted with Robert Kraut at Carnegie Mellon University found that people who sent or received more messages, comments and Timeline posts reported improvements in social support, depression and loneliness.

The positive effects were even stronger when people talked with their close friends online. Simply broadcasting status updates wasn’t enough; people had to interact one-on-one with others in their network.

Other peer-reviewed longitudinal research and experiments have found similar positive benefits between well-being and active engagement on Facebook.


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