The platform publishes an article commenting on scientific studies on the effect of Facebook on its users
Facebook is, with total security, the largest radiography that humanity has done collectively. 2 billion people analyzed, followed and scrutinized for years. Your relationships, feelings, and longings in a single silo. There has never been anything like it.
Until a few years ago, social networks and communities on the Internet were spread over small and medium-sized properties spread across languages, countries or interests. Rare was getting 30 or 50 million users. In its heyday, MySpace reached 75 million registered users, who are not always active users. Since the arrival of Facebook and its properties as WhatsApp or Instagram, we are in unknown territory at a psychological, sociological and anthropological level.
Facebook is an X-ray of humanity as a whole that has never been possible before
We do not know how it will affect the development of our children who have been born, lived and grown continuously exposed to the world. Seeing every movement of your friends and family. Therefore, Facebook has a large team of academics from multiple specialties analyzing their influence.
These analyzes are not a disinterested exercise for our sake, of course. Being able to see how we react and how it makes us feel to see the “perfect” Instagram photos of our friends while we return from a bad day at work, is essential for Facebook. It allows them to adjust their technology, so that we are happier, or think we are. The ultimate goal: be more time, see more ads, share more data on their platforms.
Admitting that Facebook can be bad for your mental health is an important step similar to that of the tobacco industry in the past
In a detailed article, where the examples cited have been chosen specifically, Facebook opens up in an unusual way. Its director of research, David Ginsberg, and Moira Burke, a researcher on the same team, explain several recent scientific articles that have analyzed the impact of Facebook on its users.
In it, Facebook admits, uncritically, that it can be harmful to the health metal of some people in certain environments. It is a great first step, similar to the tobacco industry finally admitting the harmful effects of nicotine. A significant milestone at a time when technological giants are encountering increasing resistance and distrust between society and the political class.
Entering Facebook to read other people’s messages, see photos and videos of others without participating leaves us with worse mood
The biggest damaging element of Facebook, according to one of the studies cited, seems to come from making a passive use of the platform. Read what others put, see their photos, watch their videos, put a “like” here or there. Although this type of activity counts as an “active user” on Facebook at the financial level, it is an academically passive use. It is not equivalent to a user who adds comments, participates in groups constantly, upload photos and share their activities constantly.
The study, from the University of Michigan, certifies that the subjects analyzed while reading other people’s content for 10 minutes on Facebook felt worse at the end of the day that the study subjects who wrote messages or started conversations. Another key, this time in the conclusion of a second study, observed that those Facebook users who visited four times more links or “liked” twice as much in messages from others, had worse mental health (according to subsequent surveys) than the half.
Facebook has learned to show you less content from your ex-partners so that it does not affect you (and stop using it)
The article cites more studies – and leaves hundreds unanswered – but the tacit summary is that participating productively in social networks is good for its users (and Facebook) at the psychological level. A conclusion that agrees with most of the published literature on online communities since the 90s. The most enthusiastic get new friends, increase their personal horizons, discover new interests and learn continuously. On this positive point, a significant detail contributed by the Carnegie Mellon: sending messages and telling our opinions is not enough. You have to interact, especially in a personal and direct way, with other participants.
Facebook takes time protecting itself for a possible escape of users who instinctively suspect that such an open social network will harm them. Hence, they have been implementing more and more measures of privacy and control of what you see. A curious: to show you less content of your ex-partners after breaking. But Facebook’s biggest bet has been to control its alternatives: citizens are increasingly betting on returning to closed communities, to private conversations. With its purchase of WhatsApp and the continued evolution of Instagram, Facebook ensures that you stay in the fold.
The positive side: the users who participate the most get new friends, increase their personal horizons, discover new interests and enjoy