Wednesday 9 August 2023

NO EVIDENCE that using Facebook is bad for mental health - new study!

A lot of experts have consistently said over a long time that Facebook is addictive and bad for mental health especially for today's youngsters who can spend hours on the site daily. Now The Times reports that:

There is no evidence that the global adoption of Facebook is linked to psychological harm, a study has suggested.

So, you can go back on Facebook (FB) if you ever left it and check out some more funny cat pics or cat rescues! Seriously though I have to doubt this research. Oxford University said that Facebook users may even benefit from the social media site. 

No evidence that using Facebook is bad for mental health - new study!
Is this harmful or beneficial? Image in public domain.

The checked-out data from a million people in 72 countries. Facebook's owner, Meta allowed access to user data. But it took 3 years to get the information and write it up!

The researchers said that Meta did not fund the research. This information is intended to tell us that the report is not a Meta PR exercise. But is it?! It might be. Meta wants more research on the wellbeing of users. This study is certainly a boost to Meta's public profile.

Some earlier research found that FB is liked to increased incidences of mental health problems. The new research has been challenged by some campaigners.

The new study said that "evidence for harm is on balance more speculative than conclusive."

The lead author of the new study, Professor Andrew Przybylski, said that earlier studies have been proven to be inaccurate because they focused on the UK and USA over a short timeframe and relied on surveys from people about their social media use.

The professor added that "The best global data does not support the idea that the expansion of social media has a negative global association with wellbeing across nations and different demographics."

The study looked at 2 age brackets: 13-34 and 35-plus for the years 2008-2019.

There was a "small but significant" indication that FB users' wellbeing improved.

A critic, Fances Haugen said that "the study isn't well designed to assess the actual impact of Facebook". She said that people should be cautious about the finding that using FB is beneficial.

Another critic, the Molly Rose Foundation said that "the coroner at Molly's inquest...concluded that the torrent of harmful content that she was algorithmically fed contributed to her death". And "that Meta's own research has long found that Instagram [also owned by FB] has adverse impacts on the health and wellbeing of young people."

What do you think?

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