Facebook admits its site can be bad for you – but says if you are suffering ill effects, you’re doing it wrong

Facebook can be bad for you, but only if you don’t know how to use the social media network properly. The social networking giant has replied to allegations from “scientific researchers and tech industry insiders” who claim that Facebook, along with its competitors, is changing how individuals “behave and express emotion.”

Through a corporate blog post, Facebook stated that social media can benefit individuals if they use the technology actively (e.g. messaging their friends), instead of passively (e.g. scrolling through their feed without interacting with anyone).

The company insists that their “research and other academic literature suggests that it’s about how you use social media that matters when it comes to your well-being.” Facebook also cited “compelling research” that looked into the negative side effects of social media.

While the social media recognized the results of the studies, they are adamant that they do not tell “the whole story.” Facebook referenced other studies, and the company implied that these alleged dangers may be exaggerated. Facebook even posited that social media has various benefits if it is used correctly.

The blog post, which was written by Facebook Research Director David Ginsberg and Research Scientist Moira Burke, continued, “We employ social psychologists, social scientists and sociologists, and we collaborate with top scholars to better understand well-being and work to make Facebook a place that contributes in a positive way.”

Ginsberg and Burke emphasized that how social media affects you depends on your usage. For example, on Facebook, you have the option of absent-mindedly scroll through posts the same way you would watch T.V., or you can comment and watch your friends’ posts.

This is the second time that the company released a rebuttal since last month, cementing its readiness to uphold their business model which aims to translate “users’ attention into advertising revenue.”

In December, Facebook issued a statement concerning former executive Chamath Palihapitiya. He previously implied that the social media giant was responsible for “destroying how society works,” but Facebook insists that it had been six years since Palihapitiya was involved with the company, so he was no longer aware of the ins and outs of its “recent efforts to improve.” Soon after this incident, Palihapitiya posted an update after his tirade, ironically publishing a Facebook post which called the social media “a force for good in the world.”

Aside from Facebook, other online services like Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube are under the spotlight since they all allegedly promote “anti-social behaviors.” (Related: Facebook is making you miserable, scientists find.)

Back in March 2017, a study by U.S. researchers determined that using social media for at least two hours each day made users feel like they were socially isolated. Time Well Spent, a nonprofit organization spearheaded by a former Google design ethicist, is working to convince tech companies to cease the development of products that divert people’s attention.

The blog post ended by saying that Facebook has allocated $1 million for “research into the relationship among technology, youth development, and well-being.”

The benefits of unplugging from social media

There are some benefits to going offline:

  • Improved sleep — Keep in mind that the bright lights you subject your brain to each night prevents your mind from going to rest. Leave your phone in a different room when it’s time for bed so you can go to sleep faster.
  • Sharper focus — If you spend more time offline, you’ll be free to work on other important tasks.
  • You use your time wisely — Instead of binge-watching silly cat videos, you can spend more time working or finishing that book you’ve been meaning to read.
  • You’re more in tune with yourself — When you’re offline, you can get more in touch with yourself and your own thoughts and ideas.

You can read more articles about how to use technology wisely at FutureScienceNews.com.

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