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Delete your account: leaving Facebook can make you happier, study finds

Guardian Technology 01 Feb 2019 04:06
Some of the users who went without Facebook were able to maintain their abstinence after the study concluded. Photograph: Chesnot/Getty Images

Despite all the scandals of the past year, here we are, still on Facebook, a couple of billion of us spending about an hour a day in its iron grip. Now a new study suggests it’s making us feel bad.

That’s in part because we may be addicted. Want to feel better? Delete Facebook. As some experts have said, the system of rewards set up by Facebook and other social media platforms is akin to gambling or substance abuse cravings. Sean Parker, an early Facebook executive, explained that the thought process behind driving user engagement is akin to delivering “a little dopamine hit”.

As with any habitual behavior, you might reasonably expect that abstaining would lead to an improved mood and an overall sense of wellbeing. A new study goes a long way toward suggesting the benefits of cutting Facebook out of our lives altogether.

The study, titled The Welfare Effects of Social Media, from researchers at Stanford and NYU, is being praised as one of the most rigorous to look at what happens to people when they log off. Logging off seems to be as positive as you probably expect it would be, leading to increased subjective wellbeing, less political drama and attention span agitation, and increased time spent with friends and family. On the other hand, it also led to a decrease in awareness of the news. Although, to be honest, that sounds pretty nice too.

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FacebookSean ParkerdopamineNYUStanford
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