Citing internal and academic research, Facebook admitted its users will feel worse about themselves after spending only 10 minutes absorbing content on the site.
In a company blog post on Friday, Facebook cited studies from the University of Michigan and UC San Diego that revealed how social media negatively impacts the mental health of users.
According to Facebook:
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.
A study from UC San Diego and Yale found that people who clicked on about four times as many links as the average person, or who liked twice as many posts, reported worse mental health than average in a survey.
That said, the admission was part of a half-assed attempt at damage control by Facebook, which claimed “it really comes down to how you use the technology.”
Facebook is facing renewed criticism after a recent spat of ex-employees admitted social media was causing severe psychological damage to society, leading to a massive rift in real-life relationships.
“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created [including the hearts, likes, and thumbs up of various social media channels] are destroying how society works,” said former Facebook vice president Chamath Palihapitiya. “…There’s no civil discourse, no cooperation; [only] misinformation, mistruth.”
“And it’s not an American problem–this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”
In short, the more “connected” people are on social media, the more disconnected they are in real life, and some analysts even suggest this is contributing to low birth rates in the West when combined with the “soy boy” epidemic and third-wave feminism.
Fortunately, there’s a brewing backlash against dopamine addiction and smartphone dependency, especially amongst Generation Z youths.
“Almost two-thirds of schoolchildren would not mind if social media had never been invented, research suggests,” BBC reported. “A survey of almost 5,000 students, mainly aged between 14 and 16, found a growing backlash against social media – with even more pupils (71%) admitting to taking digital detoxes to escape it.”
“Some girls found fears of being offline were replaced by feelings of relief.”