Facebook Admits It’s Damaging Your Mental Health, Suggests Using It More

Facebook Admits It’s Damaging Your Mental Health, Suggests Using It More

Facebook has finally admitted it can have negative effects on our mental health, but tells users the key to avoiding harm is to spend even more time interacting on the social network.

Responding to a spate of comments made by former executives and investors about the dangers of  Facebook, the company published a blog post reflecting on its role in society Friday.

In November, former executive Chamath Palihapitiya pointed to the company’s “short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops” which “are destroying how society works,” during a talk at Stanford University. He said he felt “tremendous guilt” about his role in the company.

Also in November, founding president Sean Parker said he is a “conscientious objector” to social media and that Facebook had success by “exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”

David Ginsberg, Director of Research, and Moira Burke, Research Scientist at Facebook penned the post titled, “Hard Questions: Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us?”

The pair admitted they worry about the effects social media will have on their children, but said Facebook has always been about “enhancing your relationships offline.”

“In general, when people spend a lot of time passively consuming information — reading but not interacting with people — they report feeling worse afterward,” Facebook says. “On the other hand, actively interacting with people — especially sharing messages, posts and comments with close friends and reminiscing about past interactions — is linked to improvements in well-being.”

By Facebook’s logic, if we interact more on social media, we will be happier, advice that aligns with the company’s profit generation by encouraging users to engage more with the platform. Facebook reported 16 percent growth in monthly active users from the previous year in its third quarter report in November.  

 

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