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Facebook research shows that the platform can cause loneliness

Depending on the user, Facebook can cause increased feelings of loneliness.

facebook iphone icon
Image: KnowTechie

A new revelation from the infamous Facebook Papers has just come to the surface. According to internal documents, researchers at Meta have discovered that its social media platforms, like Facebook, can make people more lonely.

It sounds like a major contradiction. Social media platforms were developed to help connect people. But in fact, they can do the opposite and make users feel more lonely. At least, according to the latest internal documents revealed by Bloomberg.

The publication recently revealed several documents leaked by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen that show Meta research proving that Facebook has an effect on loneliness. One internal study found that certain kinds of posts could make users feel more lonely.

facebook loneliness trends
Screenshot taken from the Facebook Papers (Image: Bloomberg)

For instance, seeing posts of friends doing things without you, or negative content and comments tends to increase loneliness in users. But on the other hand, seeing funny or entertaining content can make users feel less lonely.

Another study considered users who were already lonely when they got on Facebook. This study found that only 6 percent of users said they felt more lonely, compared to 41 percent who said the app made them feel better.

However, 42 percent of users said that they could feel both more and less lonely after visiting Facebook.

Spending one hour on Facebook is the optimal time to feel the least lonely

time spent on facebook related to happiness
Screenshot taken from the Facebook Papers (Image: Bloomberg)

One of the more interesting studies revealed in this report is one that looks at time spent on Facebook. According to the study, users that spend right around one hour on the platform tend to feel the least lonely.

Anything more or less than an hour spent on Facebook tends to increase loneliness in users.

There is definitely a correlation between loneliness and social media use, as we can see from this research. However, it’s tough to determine the exact effect that these platforms have.

The results of the research mentioned above show that user experience varies on Facebook, and the platform can either help or hurt users who are feeling lonely.

The biggest takeaway from this research is that it’s important to not spend too much time on social media. While it can have some beneficial effects and use at combatting loneliness, it’s best to not spend too much of your day on Facebook and other social media platforms.

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Contributing writer with a passion for gaming and tech. Probably getting wrecked by some kids in Rocket League.

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